We must bring what is happening in Belarus to the world’s attention and hear from those on the ground. Briefers on #BYHumanRights: UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, Anaïs Marin; Belarusian opposition presidential candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya; Vice-Chairman of the Viasna Human Rights Center, Valiantsin Stefanovic; Legal Expert for the Belarusian Association of Journalists, Volha Siakhovich. The meeting is chaired by Urmas Reinsalu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia. The meeting was initiated by Estonia and co-sponsored by UN Security Council members the United States and United Kingdom, as well as Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine.

Estonia’s Statement at the Security Council VTC Meeting on the Situation in the Middle East

I would like to thank His Excellency Mr. Ahmed Aboul-Gheit for his presence and his briefing. I also thank Special Coordinator Mladenov for his briefing.

We have welcomed the initiative, taken by US, that has given us impetus to revive the Middle East Peace Process.

The counterproposal submitted by the Palestinian Authority to the Middle East Quartet is a good step in the right direction. It is essential that both parties take steps to engage in a constructive dialogue, with the aim to achieve a negotiated two state solution, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of both parties and Israeli security concerns.

In order to keep the momentum alive for moving towards peace, it is vital to refrain from any unilateral steps that would undermine it.

A unilateral annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank would undermine the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution and threaten the stability of the region. We are concerned also about Israel’s continued settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian Territories, including in East Jerusalem.

I would like to recall important element of the resolution 2334, to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, acts of terror, incitement and acts of provocation. Although during the recent months the situation in Gaza has remained relatively calm, we stress that firing rockets from Gaza into Israel as well as any other form of violence targeting civilian population is unacceptable.

We are worried about the announcement by the Palestinian leadership regarding terminating agreements with Israel and the United States, including security cooperation. We call on the Palestinian Authority to reconsider the decision and to remain committed to the Oslo agreements.

For engaging in direct negotiations, both parties need governments with legitimate and democratic mandates. We encourage the Palestinian Authority to set a date for the holding of elections throughout the occupied Palestinian Territories.

Finally, we reiterate the important role of UNRWA in supporting the efforts to prevent a major COVID-19 outbreak in the occupied Palestinian Territories. We commend Jordan and Sweden for organising the Pledging Conference to raise funds for the Agency’s needs, which took place yesterday. Estonia has been a longstanding contributor to UNRWA with an annual core funding of 80 000 euros and for the year 2020 we have already allocated additional 200 000 euros to support UNRWA’s activities.