UN Security Council seat reaction: Responsibility, opportunity, success

UN General Assembly vote on non-permanent Security Council membership at UN headquarters in New York, Friday, June 7.
UN General Assembly vote on non-permanent Security Council membership at UN headquarters in New York, Friday, June 7. Source: President's office

Reaction to Estonia gaining a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2020-2021 continues to trickle in on Saturday.

Following a second round of voting at UN headquarters in New York on Friday, Estonia was awarded the seat, receiving 132 votes against Romania's 58, the only other country in the running from the Eastern Europe group of nations.

Four other countries: Niger, Vietnam, Vincent and St. Grenadines and Tunisia also won seats on the 10-seat non-permanent member composition.

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas: Great responsibility

Great responsibility comes with the UN Security Council seat, and Estonia takes the trust placed in it seriously, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) said, according to BNS. 

"Estonia has again proven that it is an active participant in the international community, one which is is reflective, stands up for its values and makes a contribution towards the world to be a better place to live for all of us," Ratas said on a social media post.

"Of course, great responsibility also comes with the decision made in our favor. Let me assure you that we take this trust seriously and will be a poised and effective member of the Security Council. As a member of the Council we will certainly focus on topics most important to us: international law, conflict prevention, matters of climate and the environment in the context of security, and the future of the UN Security Council," he added.

Opposition leader Kaja Kallas: Result demonstrates excellent foreign policy

Reform Party leader Kaja Kallas said that the result demonstrated the effectiveness of Estonia's foreign policy.

"When you undertake something, you do it to succeed," Kallas noted on her social media account, BNS reports.

"I'm glad that Estonia was elected as non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Getting there was ultimate mastery in foreign policy, and great respects go out to our diplomats and the president for that," she continued.

"The position enables us to raise the foreign policy clout of Estonia over the next two years and be larger than our borders," she added.

Jaak Madison MEP: Opportunity to press for stricter immigration rules

According to newly-elected MEP Jaak Madison (EKRE), getting the result means Estonia can use its position now to push for stricter immigration controls.

"Serious work now awaits Estonia to emphasize the security threats originating primarily from Russia, Africa and the Middle East," Madison said on his own social media account, according to BNS.

"Of course it's also great that the millions of euros spent on campaigning over the years weren't spent in vain and Estonia got elected. However, getting elected cannot be a goal on its own, and now we have to do our utmost during these two years to emphasize and point attention to the threat facing Europe, which is the spread of terrorism from the Middle East and the threat of mass immigration from Africa," he continued.

"The UN Security Council must become aware of and find solutions to security threats, and for this also Estonia needs to speak up loudly and support the introduction, for instance, of stricter border controls with African countries," Madison added.

Estonia takes up its new role on January 1 2020.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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