Ilves Meets Obama Again: Ukraine 'Not Overshadowed' by Concurrent Issues

US President Barack Obama at the United Nations on Thursday. (AFP Photo/Scanpix)
9/26/2014 11:57 AM
Category: Politics

After both leaders had addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves met US President Barack Obama for a second time this month, ERR's US correspondent reported from New York.

Ilves said Thursday in reaction to Obama's address that it showed that Russia's aggression is not being neglected by the fight against ISIS terrorists, and that in meeting Obama, the question of Estonia's eastern neighbor came up again.

"We discussed Europe and what is happening in Ukraine, the topic he spoke about in his speech today," Ilves said. "It (the speech) was a very strong statement. [Ukraine] is not overshadowed in any way; they [the steps towards addressing against ISIS] are simply taking place at the same time," Ilves said.

Ilves said that Russia's behavior is not only a problem for Ukraine, but also in Russia with the various Finno-Ugric minorities whose representatives were prevented from attending the United Nations Conference on National Minorities, which he brought up in his speech on Monday.

Ilves was harshly critical of the Security Council in his Wednesday speech, saying that its work methods and principles must be revised.

"These recent developments force us to seriously reconsider the role of the United Nations," Ilves said in his address. "How can one of the fundamental goals of the UN, global peace and security, be promoted when basic international agreements are ignored, state borders are changed and territories are annexed through force?"

"We cannot ignore that the Security Council has been paralyzed as international justice has been manipulated and multiple crises have escalated. The Security Council needs to be reformed. Its work methods and principles must be revised, with special attention to the openness, accountability and transparency of its processes."

Besides the main focus on terrorism and ISIL, United States President Barack Obama turned strong attention to Russia's aggressive behavior in Ukraine in his speech on Wednesday.

Obama described details of Russia's annexation of Crimea and its intervention in eastern Ukraine, saying that it represented a threat to the international order established after World War II. Obama used some of the same language and point-by-point unpacking of Russia's behavior that he used during his speech in Tallinn on September 3.

"This is a vision of the world in which might makes right - a world in which one nation’s borders can be redrawn by another, and civilized people are not allowed to recover the remains of their loved ones because of the truth that might be revealed,” Obama said.

"America stands for something different. We believe that right makes might. That bigger nations should not be able to bully smaller ones; that people should be able to choose their own future."

This had considerable overlap with the Ilves speech, where he decried the breakdown of the modern international order, and then skewered Russia for breaking many of the international compacts that govern the relations between nations.

"We should all worry when one of the more fundamental underlying document that prohibits aggression by one country against another, has been violated," Ilves said.


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