Paet says Icelandic embassy to be located in Estonia's embassy building in Beijing

Today, on March 26, in Tallinn Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and Icelandic Foreign Minister Össur Skarphéoinsson signed an agreement by which Iceland's embassy will be located within the Estonian embassy building in Beijing, Estonian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Paet stated that the agreement reflects Estonia's close co-operation with the Nordic countries.

"Estonia has very good and strong ties with Iceland, and offering our embassy rooms to Iceland is a logical part of this co-operation," he added.

At their meeting today, Estonia's Foreign Minister confirmed that Estonia would like for the European Union to expand in Northern Europe. "We would like for Iceland's accession negotiations with the European Union to progress at a faster pace than currently, since Iceland’s accession with the EU would be useful for both sides," Paet emphasized.

The foreign minister also noted that Iceland, with its readiness and dedication, is a good example for other candidate countries trying to accede to the European Union.

"Estonia remains ready to share its experiences with Iceland both bilaterally and through co-operation in the European Commission," he stated.

According to Paet, in addition to administrative co-operation, Estonia is also interested in expanding consular co-operation with Iceland. "We would like to organize consular consultations to discuss in more detail visa representation matters and the simplification of document exchange, among other things," he noted.

The foreign minister added that we would also like to move forward with an agreement to reciprocally recognize public documents without an apostille.

"Concluding such an agreement would make dealing with such paperwork easier and more convenient for people in both Estonia and Iceland," Paet explained. At their meeting the ministers also talked about increasing economic co-operation between the countries.

The Estonian foreign minister said that both countries are interested in intensifying economic co-operation and making communication between companies more active.

"During his visit, the Icelandic foreign minister plans to visit the research and development company Cybernetica," said Paet. The Estonian foreign minister invited Iceland to join the NATO Cyber Defense Center in Tallinn.

The ministers also touched on regional co-operation and matters related to the future of the Arctic Council.

"We see opportunities for closer Estonia-Iceland co-operation during 2014, the Baltic Sea Year, when Estonia will co-ordinate Nordic-Baltic co-operation and Iceland will be the chairman of the Nordic Council of Ministers," said Paet.

When talking about human rights issues, Paet noted that Estonia is currently the only one among the Nordic and Baltic countries who is a member of the UN Human Rights Council.

"Therefore, we are very interested in human rights-related co-operation with the Nordic and Baltic countries. We are also ready to hear their proposals and concerns and, if necessary, represent them in the Council," said the foreign minister.