Foreign minister: Russian presence in Libya worrying ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa).
Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa). Source: ERR

Russia's increasing military presence in Libya is a cause for concern, foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) says.

"The growing instability in Europe's immediate neighbourhood demands our joint commitment and close attention. A good example is the recently-established EU operation IRINI, which monitors the UN Security Council's established arms embargo on the Libyan coastline, working in close coordination with the UN mission in Libya," Reinsalu said Friday, according to a ministry press release.

Estonia, a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC), holds the organization's rotating presidency this month, and also invited Josep Borrell, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to brief the council via video link on Thursday evening.

The meeting looked at ongoing crises where both the EUand the UN are involved in management efforts.

Respect for territorial integrity and the prohibition of the use of force are fundamental principles of international law, ones which stand at the core of the UN and EU values, the foreign ministry says.

The foreign minister also expressed concern over the increased Russian military presence in the occupied territories of Georgia, where military exercises, reinforcement of military infrastructure and demarcation continue.

"We also deplore any actions that impede the work of the EU Monitoring Mission by restricting access to Abkhazia and South-Ossetia," Reinsalu said.

Reinsalu also condemned the aggression against Ukraine, in the Donbass, and with the illegal annexation of Crimea. 

Resolution on COVID-19 is currently at a standstill at the UNSC, however, the foreign minister said, despite Secretary-General António Guterres's calls for ceasefires worldwide during the pandemic.

"It is most unfortunate that this council has not been able to vocally stand behind the Secretary-General's global ceasefire call, by adopting the resolution. We must send a loud and unified message to put the guns down now," Reinsalu said.

A UNSC video meeting on implementing the ceasefire with the Secretary-General also took place two days ago.

Urmas Reinsalu also drew attention to the fact that the global pandemic has been used as a pretext to call for terminating sanctions.

"Let me remind you that EU and UN sanctions are targeted, and do not obstruct the fight against the pandemic, as they also include the possibility of humanitarian exemptions," Reinsalu said.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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