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Opinion digest: Security Council seat could put Estonia in tricky situation

Ainar Ruussaar and Anvar Samost.
Ainar Ruussaar and Anvar Samost. Source: (ERR)

Speaking about Estonia's recently launched bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2020-2021 on Vikerraadio's Sunday broadcast of "Samost and Ruussaar," hosts Anvar Samost and Ainar Ruussaar found themselves at odds over the practicality of this goal.

"The security council is first and foremost the playground of great powers, and Estonia, as a small country for whom good relations with as many important allies as possible are very vital, should not put itself in a position in which it must vote against the positions of one or another of its allies on some matter during these two years," Samost said.

In response, Ruussaar noted that such a situation, in which Estonia would be forced to vote thus, may but also may not come up at all.

"I believe that diplomacy is a very important tool," he said. "And on the subject of meaningfulness or nonsense, the entire UN Security Council needs to be reformed, which will not happen in the near future, as its great powers have no interest in this whatsoever. They are interested in this sort of amorphous UN, upon which not much beyond some budget allocations to certain regions depends. But Estonia being able to strongly and diplomatically express itself in such a council in the case of some kind of conflict wouldn't be bad at all, in my opinion."

Ruussaar said that he supports President Kersti Kaljulaid's position that, were something to happen such as what happened in Ukraine in 2014, then there would be one more outspoken, clearly pro-NATO and -EU diplomat in the Security Council.

"If this is done well, masterfully, and with proper, strong messages, then I believe that, on one hand, this will deliver very strong foreign policy signals to us, to our allies and to our opponents." he concluded.

Samost, on the other hand, pointed out that when Lithuania had a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council from 2014-2015, it was not taken into account very much and the crisis in Ukraine was addressed largely without Lithuania.

He noted that the U.S., France, the U.K., Russia and China, the five permament members of the Security Council, have veto powers on the council and so Estonia's participation there will not change anything.

Ruussaar did not share Samost's skepticim, however, adding that, acting skillfully, diplomacy was a vital instrument.

Last week, Estonia launched its campaign to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2020-2021.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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