Estonia will find out late on Friday, or early Saturday morning, local time, if it has been successful in its bid to get a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
The UN Security Council is one of six main UN bodies, charged with ensuring international peace and security, among other roles. It comprises five permanent seats – China, Russia, France, the U.K. and the U.S., and 10 non-permanent members, apportioned regionally and rotating every two years.
The vote taken on Friday at UN Headquarters in New York will end a long drive by Estonia to get the spot, which, it is argues, will raise the country's profile internationally and bring valuable experience and expertise.
The original decision to apply was made back in 2005, a year after Estonia joined NATO and the EU, with the later phase of the campaign starting in 2017.
Foreign Minister: Seat would improve Estonia's profile and influence
Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) is in New York for the vote, and explained that dedicated work had been done to introduce Estonia and its positions on foreign policy, BNS reports.
"As part of the UN Security Council campaign, we have visited various regions in the world and established relations in international digital cooperation, which will last and undoubtedly develop after the vote, too," Reinsalu said.
"If we succeed, non-permanent membership in the UN will give us an opportunity to participate in decision-making and activities, which will help further increase Estonia's international prominence and regional influence," he continued.
"As a small state, we will be able to complement the discussions at the security council with a small state's perspective on security issues, acting as their spokesperson in protecting shared interests," Reinsalu added, noting that that the best way to safeguard Estonia's security is to actively participate in and contribute to the work of international organizations.
"Our security is guaranteed as long as the system of international relations is based on the rules agreed; in cooperation with the states of the UN, we have an opportunity to have our say in the shaping of these rules," Reinsalu continued, adding that as an elected non-permanent security council member, Estonia would be able to stand up for its values and principles in the council's decision making process.
President Kersti Kaljulaid is also in New York for the vote. A large part of her work since becoming president in 2016 has been traveling globally to forge relations and promote Estonia.
Anti-globalization stances split the previous coalition administration in late 2018, on the issue of the UN's Global Compact on Migration, due for assent in December that year. In the event, Estonia, along with several other European states including Austria and Poland, did not officially attend the meeting at Marrakesh, Morocco, where the agreement was formally adopted. The U.S. did not participate in negotiations at all.
Estonia needs two thirds of the voters, representing all 193 UN members, at a secret ballot. As part of the Eastern European group of nations, it is up against Romania for the position, and the vote will follow decisions on several other new security council non-permanent members from other regions. This may push the announcement of results into the small hours of Saturday, Estonian time.
Editor: Andrew Whyte