Former longtime Minister of Foreign Affairs and current MEP Urmas Paet (Reform/ALDE) condemned Estonia's decision to establish diplomatic relations with Sudan, against which both the UN and the EU have implemented sanctions for the violation of human rights.
"I saw that Estonia has freshly established diplomatic ties with Sudan, which is led by President Omar al-Bashir, for whom an arrest warrant has been issued by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity," Paet said on social media.
"Previously, Estonia's stance was that we do not establish diplomatic relations with a country led by a person accused of crimes against humanity," he continued. "Sadly, this stance has changed now.
"The human rights protection organization Human Rights Watch writes about Sudan on their website as follows: 'Armed conflicts continue between government forces and armed opposition groups... Government forces have attacked, killed, and raped civilians and looted and destroyed their property in violation of the laws of war. Hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee their homes. Authorities arbitrarily detain political activists and subject them to ill-treatment and torture ... the International Criminal Court [has issued a] warrant for the arrest of President Omar al-Bashir for crimes... [against humanity],'" Paet quoted.
According to information available from the EU Sanctions Map, which was created last year by Estonia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the EU first posed sanctions against Sudan in 1994 already. The UN Security Council in 2004 also imposed sanctions against the country in relation to the violation of human rights and a humanitarian crisis. The EU in 2011 reformed its sanctions against Sudan and Southern Sudan in connection with the latter's independence. Separate EU sanctions against Southern Sudan, however, have been in effect as well since 2014.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE) established diplomatic ties with Sudan at the African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on Jan. 25 by signing an agreement with his Sudanese colleague Ibrahim Ghandour on the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Paet served as Estonia's Minister of Foreign Affairs from April 2005 to November 2014.
Editor: Aili Vahtla