On January 1, President Kersti Kaljulaid hoisted the UN flag in front of the Office of the President to mark the beginning of Estonia's membership of the UN Security Council.
President Kaljulaid said after hoisting the flag: "Estonia will be at the world's hardest diplomatic negotiating table for the next two years. This makes Estonia indisputably larger than our population, area or GDP naturally allows.
"We are an equal country in a complex and fragile international family. But it comes with an obligation and responsibility to understand and to speak up on difficult issues that at first sight do not seem to concern us directly. We will help stand for a value-based and international law-based world order, without which we and many other countries and nations would have no place in the world."
The role of the UN Security Council is to stand for peace and security in the world.
The Security Council consists of 15 countries, of which the United States, Russia, France, the United Kingdom and China are permanent members.
Together with Estonia, four new elected members Niger, Tunisia, Vietnam and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will start, while Belgium, Germany, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia and South Africa will continue their membership.
Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said the UN Security Council membership serves Estonia's national interests and allows the country to contribute to solving the world's conflicts through diplomatic means.
"For the next two years, we will be at the centre of world politics. Estonia must help manage conflicts that have erupted both within as well as between countries," Reinsalu said.
"The benefits of the UN Security Council for Estonia go beyond the two years, as it presents us with an opportunity to raise Estonia's profile, expand our circle of communication and add to the professional skills of our diplomats. We can demonstrate that we are a reliable country that is open to compromises and cares about the troubles of others. All this also increases our security," Reinsalu added.
Editor: Helen Wright