Baird Visits Estonia, Concludes Tour of Central and Eastern Europe

April 28, 2014 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird concluded his visit to Estonia today as part of a week-long tour of Central and Eastern Europe during which he met with key allies to address the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

“Canada and its allies are sending a clear message to President Putin: that we remain united in our support for Ukraine, and we will not stand by and watch as Russia continues to employ provocative actions,” said Baird. “As Russia stubbornly disregards its Geneva commitments, it can expect to face increasing isolation and deeper sanctions from Canada and G-7 allies.”

While in Estonia, Baird met with President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Urmas Paet. During their meetings they discussed the Russian threat to regional stability and agreed to continue working collaboratively in support of democracy in Ukraine.

Baird added that Canada would continue to stand squarely with our allies in support of free, independent and democratic nations. See Canada’s Response to the Situation in Ukraine for details on Canada’s actions so far.

Baird was in Estonia to attend the 4th Freedom Online Coalition Conference, a 23-member intergovernmental group, committed to voicing concern over measures to restrict human rights and freedoms online, of which Canada was a founding member.

At the Conference, he underscored Canada’s commitment to a free, open and secure Internet and called for all stakeholders, including states, civil society and the private sector, to do their part to safeguard human rights, both online and offline.

“The Internet should be used as an amplifier for freedom, democracy, human rights, not as a tool for repression,” said Baird. “Canada condemns those who seek to block free expression and access to information and who use the power of technology to monitor and control their citizens.”

For the full text of the speech, please consult Address by Minister Baird to Freedom Online Coalition Conference.

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