Riigikogu committee: Estonia's practical work on UN council just beginning

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu received an overview of the recent elections of non-permanent members to the UN Security Council.
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu received an overview of the recent elections of non-permanent members to the UN Security Council. Source: Riigikogu

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu was given an overview on Monday of last Friday's elections of non-permanent members of the UN Security Council for 2020-2021 as well as future activities.

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Enn Eesmaa (Centre) said that Estonian diplomats had done a huge job during Estonia's campaign for a non-permanent seat, which also earned recognition, but that the real work was only just beginning, according to a Riigikogu press release.

According to Eesmaa, the committee is interested in parliamentary-level involvement in the development of Estonia's positions for participating in the work of the UN Security Council.

"The Foreign Affairs Committee actively cooperates with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," he emphasized. "We will take active advantage of our role when it comes to parliamentary control in handling various issues."

The committee chairman added that during the autumn session, the Foreign Affairs Committee would continue discussing UN Security Council-related issues, and that the committee would also review Estonia's positions by topic before it takes up its non-permanent seat on the council. During Estonia's term as a non-permanent member of the UNSC, there will also be regular discussions in accordance with the council's agenda.

According to Deputy Chairman Marko Mihkelson (Reform), it is clear that Estonia's diplomatic work on the Security Council during the next two years wil be based on the framework of international law and longtime Estonian foreign policy tradition. He also believes that the status of non-permanent member will grant Estonia the opportunity to make itself better known worldwide.

"It should be kept in mind that a large portion of topics concern Africa and the Middle Eastern region, where we ourselves do not have diplomatic representation or it is very, very limited," Mihkelson noted, adding that one critical issue is relating to Iran.

Estonia to hold council presidency as well

According to the Riigikogu, the primary topics discussed by the UN Security Council include threats to international peace and security, peacekeeping and peace-building, arms control and disarmament, and human rights. Estonia hopes to bring issues related to cybersecurity to the attention of the UNSC.

Undersecretary for Political Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Paul Teesalu told the Foreign Affairs Committee about the work of a non-permanent member of the UNSC in 2020-2021. He thanked those MPs who had contributed to Estonia's campaign and helped introduce its positions.

According to Teesalu, the Presidency of the UN Security Council rotated monthly in alphabetical order, which means that Estonia would hold the presidency of the 15-member UNSC during both years.

In addition to discussions, the UNSC's primary output is resolutions. In 2018, the UNSC adopted 54 resolutions and issued 21 presidential statements.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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