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Mihkelson: Estonia needs to back UN vote despite Trump's threats

Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Marko Mihkelson.
Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Marko Mihkelson. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

Estonia needs to support the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly condemning any step by Israel to make Jerusalem its capital city, chairman of the Riigikogu's Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson (independent) said on Thursday evening.

"In this as well as any other UN vote, Estonia needs to adhere to its foreign policy positions," Mihkelson said, adding that as Estonia was still the presiding member on the EU council, it was in its interest to try and achieve a single position of all of the union's member states.

According to Mihkelson, U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement that he would recognize a potential Israeli decision to make Jerusalem their capital and move the U.S. embassy there hasn't changed the goal of the Middle East peace process in any way, and negotiations are still the only viable option.

"Only negotiations will lead to a two-state solution and settling the status of Jerusalem," Mihkelson said. "One-sided declarations for example on the future of Jerusalem don't take anyone closer to such a solution."

At the same time, Mihkelson doesn't believe that a vote in favor of the UN resolution will worsen Estonia's relationship with the United States.

"Certainly not. The position of the USA isn't expressed by a single individual. I don't think that the threats made by [President Trump] concern us. Estonia is a sovereign state with its own foreign policy positions, while our relations with the USA are based on similar values, and the coming UN vote won't worsen them," Mihkelson said.

The UN vote on a resolution against recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is expected for Thursday evening or early Friday morning.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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