The statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia,
H.E. Urmas Reinsalu
I warmly thank the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Mr. Josep Borrell, for joining us here today.
The cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations has steadily expanded. The need for multilateral cooperation is especially topical today amid the ongoing global crisis.
The European Union is one of the best examples of effective regional multilateral cooperation. European Union is committed to multilateralism – with the UN at its core. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration – a promise that made war between Member States impossible and brought Member States together with commonly agreed rules and institutions. This very same spirit played a foundational role in the United Nations and in the Security Council. And we need this spirit today amid the ongoing global crisis.
In this context it is most unfortunate that this Council has not been able to vocally stand behind the Secretary-General´s global ceasefire call by adopting the resolution. We must send a loud and unified message to put the guns down now.
We also need not to stay silent when freedoms are suppressed. Here the European Union has often led with loud and principled voice.
The United Nations and the EU work side by side in many of the world conflict zones. In crisis management, the partnership between the EU and the UN is crucial. The growing instability in Europe´s immediate neighborhood demands our joint commitment and close attention. A good example here is Libya. EU operation IRINI, established in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution 2292, monitors the UN Security Council’s established arms embargo on the Libyan coastline, working in close coordination with the UN mission in Libya. We are concerned about the recent news on Russia expanding its military presence there.
We welcome the growing trilateral cooperation between the African Union, the EU and the UN. The EU supports peace processes and UN peacekeeping missions through political and financial means and by being present with its own missions. For example in Somalia the EU has been a long-standing donor in financing the AMISOM. This mission is mandated by the UN Security Council for the common goal of helping Somalia take full responsibility for its security.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Women Peace and Security agenda. Its objectives need to be implemented at all levels of peacekeeping operations. I would like to highlight the UN-EU cooperation in Afghanistan by supporting gender equality, women’s engagement in the peace process, and the inclusion of civil society. UN-EU joint program Spotlight deals with sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls.
European Union takes regular position on current world affairs to promote democratic debate. As the High Representative stressed, the importance to uphold Hong Kong´s autonomy and maintain continuous stability and prosperity under the one country, two system´s principle.
Estonia and the EU are committed to alleviate the suffering of those in need. Our recent contribution to COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan is a testimony to that. Just two days ago we discussed the dire situation of more than 5 million Venezuelans forced to leave their homes. At the International Donors Conference, co-organized by the EU, Estonia among others pledged to contribute to meet their humanitarian needs.
Collectively, the EU and its Member States are the single largest financial contributor to the UN system and the world’s largest humanitarian donor. Brussels Conferences have collected for Syria a record number of pledges, reaching almost 10 billion euros. To support partner countries in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences, the EU and its Member States have launched the so called “Team Europe” support package with overall figure of more than 20 billion euros.
Estonia is a strong advocate for a rules-based international order. The respect for territorial integrity and the prohibition of the use of force are fundamental principles of international law that stand at the core of the UN and EU values. We condemn all ongoing violations – the aggression against Ukraine in Donbass, the illegal annexation of Crimea and the occupation of the territories in Georgia. We reiterate our deep concern about the Russian military build-up in Georgia’s occupied regions, where heavy military exercises, infrastructure reinforcements and borderization activities are taking place. We also deplore any actions that impede the work of the EU Monitoring Mission by restricting access to Abkhazia and South-Ossetia. All this reminds us, that we must stick to the policies of non-recognition and never accept the illegal use of force.
We observe with concern how the global pandemic is used as a pretext to call for terminating sanctions. Let me remind that European Union and UN sanctions are targeted and do not obstruct the fight against the pandemic, as they also include the possibility of humanitarian exemptions.
The unprecedented global health emergency takes the foreground, but it is impossible to overlook another defining issue of our time: the impact of the climate change. This acts as a threat multiplier, with serious implications for peace and security across the globe. In this regard, we call for better tools also in the UN system, like accessible and interoperable data, used for early warning and early intervention.
And finally, it has become more evident than ever, that digital technologies and internet connectivity is a collective necessity that helps to increase the resilience of societies and battle the effects of crises. The COVID-19 outbreak has clearly highlighted how crucial it is to have a safe and reliable digital infrastructure and how we must collectively work towards a more stable and secure cyberspace. We must carefully scrutinize the security implications of the coronavirus disease and address the global digital divide. In this context, I would like to convene an international meeting to address the importance of digitalisation in responding to COVID crisis and assisting the recovery efforts.
Mr. Josep Borrell, thank you for your excellent briefing which reminded us how deep and important the EU- UN cooperation is.
Video meeting on UN WebTV