Foreign minister in Washington for religious freedom alliance event

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) at the UN Security Council in New York. January 9, 2020.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) at the UN Security Council in New York. January 9, 2020. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) is in Washington D.C. Wednesday and Thursday, and will attend a National Prayer Breakfast hosted by President Donald Trump.

Reinsalu was invited by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to a ministry press release.

"We agreed on joining the Religious Freedom Alliance with my U.S. colleague in October," Reinsalu said ahead of the trip.

"Nearly 40 countries across the world have been invited to join the initiative; from our neighbourhood, for example, they include all three Baltic States and several other EU countries. We definitely see this as a chance to further develop bilateral relations with our closest ally," he added.

Reinsalu, a former justice minister, who was made foreign minister with the entry of the current coalition into office last April, stressed the importance for the Religious Freedom Alliance of protecting freedom of religion and belief as protected as a human right, regardless of religious background or beliefs, something the ministry said is also addressed at the UN and within the EU.

Estonia took up its two-year stint as non-permanent member of the UN Security Council at the start of this year.

Reinsalu's itinerary also includes the opening event of the International Religious Freedom Alliance hosted by Mike Pompeo on Wednesday night, and a meeting with Bill Keating, chair of the Subcommittee on Europe of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, on Wednesday.

The International Religious Freedom Alliance pursues existing actions in protecting the freedom of religion or belief within the UN and regional organisations.

Its foundation includes Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and as its name suggests, aims to help protect the freedom of religion and belief across the world as well as assist those who are persecuted for their religion or beliefs. 

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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