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Minister: Estonia will generally no longer side against Israel in UN votes

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa).
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Estonia will no longer vote in favor of United Nations resolutions condemning Israel's actions regarding human rights in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights.

Reinsalu made his remarks following a vote on Israeli's activities in what the UN designates occupied Palestinian territories and which includes East Jerusalem, which Estonia, along with Lithuania, rejected.

Reinsalu said: "My viewpoint is that Estonia is a member of the EU, and if the EU has a common political position, with some UN resolutions as well, and as was our position when we were a member of the UN Security Council, then naturally we will act in accordance with a jointly-agreed EU position."

At the same time, on this and other security issues, Estonia's positions will often be based on those of the US, should those happen to differ from the bulk of the EU, the foreign minister added.

"However, when European countries have differences of opinion, then having listened to all the different angles, it is certainly an important argument for us to form these views in conjunction with the US," he added.

This represented a change in policy line, Reinsalu conceded, given that in the past Estonia has usually voted at the UN in favor with resolutions which condemn Israel.

"Yes. I can say that in principle," Reinsalu went on.

Of the 27 EU nations, the majority (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Latvia, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden) abstained.

Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary and Italy joined Estonia and Lithuania in voting against the resolution, while Belgium, the Republic of Ireland, Luxembourg Malta, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia voted in favor of it.).

Australia and Canada also voted against the resolution; the UK and New Zealand abstained and Ukraine and the Russian Federation voted in favor.

How the UN vote went on Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. Source: UN

Estonia held a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the years 2020-2021.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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