Foreign minister: UNSC stint proves even small states can make a difference

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Eva-Maria Liimets. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Estonia's stint as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC) proves how even a small nation can make a difference, foreign minister Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) says. This was particularly the case in regions close to the country's heart, including Crimea and the rest of Ukraine.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting Thursday, Liimets said that: "Estonia had a successful first year as an elected member of the UNSC. We have raised our international profile and we have shown that we are a credible ally and partner.

"The COVID-19 pandemic also provided an opportunity to make history by organising high-quality virtual meetings from Tallinn, which boosted Estonia's reputation as a digital state and opened new doors to our tech companies," Liimets went on, according to a foreign ministry press release.

Estonia was elected for its two-year stint in June 2019, taking up the post at the beginning of last year.

Its objectives remain unchanged for the second year, i.e. 2021, Liimets said.

She said: "This year, Estonia's focus remains on everything related to the immediate security of our region. This is why I am convening an informal high-level UNSC meeting on the Crimea on March 12. This also marks seven years since the illegal annexation of the Crimea by the Russian Federation."

Estonia has also managed to ascend to being representative on the UNSC for both Afghanistan, and the EU's Operation Irini – which aims to enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya – together with (permanent) member France and (non-permanent) member state Norway.

Estonia also chairs the council as president this June.

Liimets told Thursday's cabinet meeting that some of the targets here were: "To continue raising cyber security issues, by holding UNSC meetings, and we are also planning a high-level discussion on the rights of children."

So far, Estonia has also set up two UNSC discussions on grave human rights violations in Belarus and the Crimea, and kept the attention of UN member states and the global community on the violations of international law by Russia in Ukraine and Georgia, the foreign ministry says.

Estonia has also highlighted the issue of the impact of climate change on security policy discussions.

"We were among those who convened a meeting on the subject last year, and we support the appointment of a Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Climate and Security," Liimets added.

While decades off, the cabinet also gave the go-head for Estonia's application for a non-permanent seat 2050-51. 

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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