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.

National Statement at the UN Security Council VTC meeting on Syria

Delivered by Permanent Representative of Estonia to UN Mr. Sven Jürgenson

First, I also want to thank Special Envoy Pedersen for his briefing. The most positive takeaway is certainly the ceasefire in Idlib, which holds despite challenges.

Same cannot be said about the political process – once again there are no new developments. The Syrian regime has clearly distanced itself from the whole process, with plans of organizing parliamentary elections this year.  This clearly violates the road-map, set out in the resolution 2254.

Situation of political prisoners also remains a pressing issue. Unfortunately, the announcement of a general amnesty did not lead to a unilateral release of thousands of arbitrarily detained people.

The European Union has been clear in saying that none of the sanctions will be lifted, and aid for reconstruction provided, without credible political process. This position has not changed – we demand Syria to act in line with the resolution 2254.

According to the Syrian Government, sanctions affect the response to the outbreak of Covid-19. In a letter from May 6th to the Secretary-General from the Syrian Mission, they said that the imposed measures indirectly hinder import of medical supplies and equipment into Syria. This claim was just now also made by the Russian Federation.

This is not true. If there are any difficulties with procurement, then this means the companies do not want to make business with the Syrian Government – because they lack confidence in the Syrian Government.

It is not only the international community or UN agencies, who see little change in regime’s behavior – but also multinational corporations.

Affiliating themselves with a Government, that is known for arbitrary detention and chemical attacks is simply considered bad marketing. Sanctions have nothing to do with this negative perception.

In order to regain the trust of international community and businesses, the Syrian Government needs to fulfil its international commitments under the resolution 2254. Only after that, it will be possible to support Syria’s reconstruction – that is the message of Estonia and the European Union.