Being elected to the UN Security Council represents both a historical step for Estonia and another layer in its protective shield, President Kersti Kaljulaid said after the vote on Friday which saw the country gain a non-permanent seat on the council for 2020-2021.
"Today's decision, taken by all those countries in the world that [believe] Estonia is a suitable member of the UN Security Council for the next two years, will help us stand up more for our country and our people," Kaljulaid said, according to a press release from her office.
"It helps us to stand for a better world, and for values without which we and many other countries and nations would have no place in the world," she continued.
The president went on to note the importance of ensuring the implementation of international law, a general respect of human rights and a world based on rules and agreements. Without these safeguards, only special interests and strength would prevail, she said.
"Since Estonia restored its independence, we have pursued the line of adopting value-based decisions among the international community. This has won us trust, and we need to observe this line in the future. Belonging to the UN Security Council is a historical step for Estonia. This is another layer in our defensive shield: On the one hand, we will have better opportunities than ever to make our voice heard on global issues, while on the other hand, we can make Estonia better-known, and increase the weight of our voice," she said.
Kaljulaid also thanked all those who had contributed to Estonia's UN security council bid since the state first made the decision to apply, back in 2005. She also extended her thanks to Romania, which ran for the same seat, receiving 58 votes against Estonia's 132, in the second run-off, and congratulated the other four nations to receive seats on the council for the same term as Estonia: Niger, Tunisia, Vietnam and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
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.
President Kaljulaid returns to Estonia on Sunday.
Editor: Andrew Whyte