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 Middle East

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

I would like to thank Special Coordinator Mladenov for his briefing.

We congratulate Israel on the formation of the new government. As an immediate priority, we call on the new government and the Palestinian Authority to continue their coordination regarding the continued threat of COVID-19 pandemic, and to guarantee the delivery of humanitarian aid to the people in need.

In this context, we recall the UN Secretary-General’s call for the global ceasefire, as well as the joint appeal by the five UN special envoys to the Middle East. We welcome the efforts by the United Nations, including UNRWA in supporting the fight against the virus.

Secondly, the initiative, taken by the US, has given us impetus to revive the Middle East Peace Process. We urge parties to make efforts for resolving the conflict. We call on Israelis and Palestinians to take steps towards resuming direct and meaningful negotiations in line with the relevant UN resolutions, leading to a negotiated two-state solution, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of both parties and Israeli security concerns. Hopefully, the international community, regional actors and the Middle East Quartet will continue efforts towards finding the lasting solution. We encourage the parties to engage in constructive negotiations.

Estonia is concerned that unilateral steps, such as the annexation of parts of occupied Palestinian territories, could undermine the viability of the two-state solution and increase instability in the region.

We are worried about the announcement of President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday on terminating agreements with Israel and the US. We call on the Palestinian Authority to reconsider the decision and to remain committed to the obligations based on these agreements, especially those related to security.

Estonia strongly urges the parties to refrain from acts of violence, terror and incitement. We condemn the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel, as well as any other form of violence targeting civilian population.

Finally, for engaging in direct negotiations, both parties need governments with legitimate and democratic mandates. We also expect Palestinians to announce elections. We encourage all Palestinian factions to work towards reconciliation, which would enable them to address common challenges, as well as  the needs and expectations of the Palestinian population. It is a necessary element in reaching  the two-state solution.