Vigilance on Belarus, Russia crucial, Reinsalu tells NATO chief ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Source: Office of the President of the Republic of Estonia.

Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) spoke to and the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Tuesday evening; the pair discussed the crisis in Belarus, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and other foreign policy issues.

Speaking on the phone with the NATO secretary general, Reinsalu stressed the importance of the international community in closely monitoring events in Belarus and condemning the grave violation of human rights there, in the aftermath of Alexander Lukashenko being returned for a sixth term in elections widely condemned as rigged.

"It is NATO's role to be vigilant and provide deterrence," Reinsalu said, according to a ministry press release.

"Instead of attempting to cover its wrongdoing with lies about the alleged concentration of NATO troops on the Belarusian border, the authorities of Belarus should respect the fundamental rights of their citizens," he went on.

The recent poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny with the illegal nerve agent Novichok was also on the table, with the Estonian foreign minister calling the attack serious and cynical, and further demonstration that NATO must take a cautious approach to Russia.

Reinsalu also proposed holding an independent investigation into the poisoning of Navalny, who is currently still in a coma in a German hospital, under the aegis of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The forthcoming December NATO foreign ministers' meeting, which will present the NATO 2030 report, was also discussed.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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