Karis at UN General Assembly: Security Council close to a dead end

President of Estonia Alar Karis addresses the UN General Assembly.
President of Estonia Alar Karis addresses the UN General Assembly. Source: President's Office.

Russia's political and military leadership should bear criminal responsibility for the war in Ukraine, Estonian President Alar Karis told the UN General Assembly. Karis also said that the UN Security Council should be reformed, as it is currently "close to a dead end" due to the veto power of countries, which are committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.

According to Estonian President Alar Karis, the UN has tried to create a world based on freedom, justice and rules. However, this is now under threat. Addressing the UN General Assembly, Karis spoke about the poor human rights situation in different countries and also shared the story of a Ukrainian war refugee, who had arrived in Estonia.

"Russia's political and military leadership should bear individual criminal responsibility for planning, starting and waging war in Ukraine. This is a crime against peace," Karis said.

Karis also stressed that Russia has repeatedly violated the UN Charter and is using the Security Council to further its own agenda. "A lie is always a lie, no matter how nice it sounds," Karis said.

Therefore, he added, it is time to move forward with the much-discussed reforms to the Council. The Estonian President suggested that veto rights ought to be limited for Member States that are suspected to have acted against international law, and in cases where they have commited war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

Karis went on to say that the Security Council is currently "close to a dead end," and that this paralysis has numerous global implications, including the inability to offer conflict resolution or address migration and food security. 

Karis added that the United Nations Member States are all different. However, it is important to seek common ground.

"We are different as humans, states and societies, but I'm sure that some things are universal — the simple wish for a better tomorrow," he said. 

The Estonian President underscored, that the challenges faced by different member states are fundamentally the same. Namely. to secure lasting peace and security, eradicate poverty, address climate change and to find sustainable uses for new technologies.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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