President Karis in Portugal: UN Security Council in need of a reform

Alar Karis with President of Ireland Michael Higgins.
Alar Karis with President of Ireland Michael Higgins. Source: Office of the President of the Republic of Estonia

The United Nations Security Council is in pressing need of reform due to the Russian Federation being a permanent member, and thus dictating the terms in relation to its invasion of Ukraine, President Alar Karis says.

President Karis said that: "We must convince other member countries of the need for reforms, because that is the only way we can change the situation whereby Russia as the aggressor state in the war in Ukraine is dictating the decisions that are made by the council."

The head of state also stressed a need for reforms to the UN Security Council, a body which Estonia held a non-permanent seat on, 2020-2021.

President Karis made his remarks on the sidelines of an Arraiolos Group meeting in Porto, Portugal this week, when he met with his Irish counterpart, Michael Higgins.

The pair also talked about enhancing bilateral relations between their two countries and touched upon issues related to climate change.

The Estonian president drew attention to Estonia's initiative to have September 20 declared International World Cleanup Day by the UN. The initiative began over a decade ago in Estonia, as "Teeme ära!" and has since gone global.

The two heads of state in their conversation also noted the importance of the languages and cultures of smaller nations, and the need to protect and preserve these.

As EU member states, Estonia and Ireland share values and are unwavering in their support of Ukraine, President Karis added, calling for continued, direct military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and noting the restoration and rebuilding process, which has already commenced.

Estonia has supported the reconstruction of the Malyn bridge, Zhytomyr oblast, while a kindergarten was completed in Ovruch in June, President Karis noted.

The head of state also mentioned the engagement of Ukrainian refugees on the labour market. "These people cannot return to their homeland while the war is ongoing, but they can work in the countries offering them refuge," he said.

"Once the war comes to an end, of course, they will be needed back in Ukraine to contribute to the rebuilding of their nation," President Karis went on.

The Arraiolos Group is an informal meeting of Presidents of parliamentary and semi-presidential European Union member states, held roughly once in a year. 

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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