President Kaljulaid to UN Secretary: Estonia to keep pandemic on UNSC table

President Kersti Kaljulaid talking to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Thursday morning.
President Kersti Kaljulaid talking to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Thursday morning. Source: President's office.

President Kersti Kaljulaid spoke to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Thursday morning, stressing Estonia's intention to keep the coronavirus global pandemic on the table during its presidency of the UN Security Council (UNSC) starting May.

"Estonia intends to keep the COVID-19 crisis on the table of the security council during our presidency because it is a threat to world security," the president said, speaking to Guterres on the phone.

The president also pledged support for the UN Secretary-General's calls for a worldwide ceasefire in conflict areas, where people have been left especially vulnerable due to the pandemic.

Estonia takes on one-month UNSC presidency on May 1

President Kaljulaid also presented an overview of Estonia´s goals on the UNSC presidency.

"The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of technology and the opportunities of the digital world. For the first time in history, the UNSC is meeting digitally over video. This is a good opportunity for Estonia to show how to engage countries, ensure effective work and transparency of the council even in such extraordinary times," she said, according to the president's office.

Estonia, which joined the UNSC at the beginning of the year for a two-year stint, takes on the rotating one-month presidency from Friday, May 1.

Estonia can take a lead role in helping nations with e-services during the crisis, the president continued.

"The current crisis has given many countries the impetus to raise their technological capabilities and to develop different e-services, but it is very important to assist those, who do not have the possibilities for such leap to ensure that there will be no digital divide."

Antonio Guterres praises Kaljulaid Every Woman Every Child work

Estonia also intends to bring to the table the topics of cybersecurity and European security during its presidency of the UNSC, and international law and protection of civilians will also remain topics for discussion, the president said.

Secretary-General Guterres commended President Kaljulaid for her active role as the Co-Chair of the Every Woman Every Child movement, which stands up for the health of women and children. One of the president's priorities has been to raise awareness of the heroism of those who improve the situation of women and children on their own initiative, the president's office says.

The UNSC consists of 15 countries, of which the U.S. Russia, France, the U.K. and China are permanent members. Four newly elected members with non-permanent seats are Niger, Tunisia, Vietnam and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, together with Estonia, while Belgium, Germany, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia and South Africa, elected the previous year, continue the second year of their membership.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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