Kallas: UN Security Council membership would give Estonia more opportunities (1)

Former Vice President of the European Commission and current presidential hopeful Siim Kallas (Siim Lõvi/ERR)
5/15/2016 10:52 PM
Source: BNS
Category: News

Non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council would raise Estonia's international representation to a new level and open up new possibilities for the country to influence international policy, presidential hopeful Siim Kallas said on social media.

"In my opinion, Estonia’s endeavor to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council is a good plan,” stated Kallas. “The Republic of Estonia has raised its level of representation in the UN — we have an ambassador there, which is very good. Becoming a non-permanent member of the Security Council would raise that level [of representation] even further. Why not take advantage of additional opportunities to influence international policy-making, even if they are small?”

The former Vice President of the European Commission admitted, however, that during his tenure as Estonia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, from 1995-1996, the country was rather indifferent toward the UN. “All of our efforts — all of our energy was directed toward becoming members of the EU and NATO; the UN seemed unimportant,” explained Kallas.

He went on to note that Estonia was a very small country by world standards, “But Estonia nevertheless belongs today among the 50 or so countries in the world that can engage in international interaction on a large scale by means of its membership in the EU, NATO, the OECD, the WTO, and other structures. We’ve got a lot to do.”

In comparison, Kallas pointed out that there were about one hundred countries in the world that, excepting bilateral relations, had no other means of international contact than via the UN.

“What is going on in the UN has a significant impact on their national policies,” he noted. “They communicate among themselves, they have their own leaders — such as in South Africa and Cuba — that are being looked toward. Their representatives to the UN are the cream of the political crop. We must feel — we must understand what this group is thinking, what their international interests and connections are. You never know when and under what circumstances we may need the trust and friendship among the nations that make up the majority of UN members.”

In 2005, Estonia submitted its candidacy for a temporary seat on the UN’s Security Council in 2020-21, the campaign for which is supported by current Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas but has been regarded skeptically by current President Toomas Hendrik Ilves as well as experts from the International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS) in Tallinn, who found that even with a seat on the council, Estonia may not be able to obtain its desired objectives, and so the effort involved in earning the seat may not be worth it.

Editor: Aili Sarapik

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