I warmly thank the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Mr. Josep Borrell, for joining us here today and highlighting the issues of close cooperation between the Security Council and the European Union in New York, in Brussels and on the ground.
The European Union and the United Nations share the same values and interests. The EU is committed to multilateralism – with the UN at its core. Estonia is glad that the cooperation between the two organizations has steadily and firmly expanded, as today’s world is becoming increasingly interconnected; both in its opportunities, and its multifaceted challenges. Sitting here as the chair to the Security Council and as a representative of an EU member state, I can proudly profess, that a strong EU equals a stronger UN, and vice-versa.
Mr. Borrell, you highlighted the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. These are the values we share and stand up for. We need not to be silent when freedoms and human rights are suppressed. We strongly condemn the Belarusian authorities’ blatant attempts to silence all opposition voices, including the episode of plane hijacking, and we demand the immediate release of all political prisoners – the number of which is growing rapidly and already extends over 400. The situation remains deeply concerning also in Myanmar – we strongly support ASEAN 5-point consensus and the work of the UN Special Envoy Burgener in Myanmar.
The EU and its Member States have always been strong advocates for a rules-based international order and for international law. Estonia condemns the Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in Donbass, the illegal annexation of Crimea and the occupation of the territories in Georgia. Russia’s recent military build-up near Ukraine borders and continuous fuelling of the conflict in Donbass are truly worrisome and have aggravated the security situation in the region. It is also regrettable that Russia, a party of the conflict, has chosen to use the Arria-formula meetings to extensively spread false and divisive narratives about Ukraine.
Let me highlight that the efforts at the UN play an important role in advancing responsible state behaviour in cyberspace. As a priority, the EU and its Member States are committed to promoting a global, free, open, stable and secure cyberspace, grounded in existing international law – including the UN Charter in its entirety, international humanitarian law and human rights law.
The EU has actively contributed to peace and security beyond the region and across all continents. In crisis management, the partnership between the EU and the UN is crucial, this also includes the work on the implementation of the Women Peace and Security agenda where the EU continues to show leadership, also at the regional level.
Estonia welcomes the efforts of the EU operation IRINI in supporting the implementation of the Security Council arms embargo on Libya. We call for the implementation of all necessary measures to allow for the Libyan-led and Libyan-owned ceasefire monitoring mechanism and its international support component to be deployed as soon as possible, as mandated by the Resolution 2570 (2021). Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the EU and the UN have a central role in creating conditions for resuming direct negotiations between the parties, especially through the Middle East Quartet. Continued humanitarian aid efforts in the occupied Palestinian territory are also vital. Regarding Yemen, there is a need for continued concerted efforts of the EU and the UN towards ceasefire and political talks, as well as supporting the development, crisis response and humanitarian assistance in the country. In the Sahel region, the EU, including Estonia offers an important support to the counter-terrorist efforts of the G5 Sahel Joint Force.
The EU, together with its Member States, is also the largest donor of humanitarian aid to Syria and the region. Estonia has contributed financially to the humanitarian relief for Syria and the region since the start of the crisis. The Fifth Brussels Conference, held earlier this year, once again contributed billions to alleviate the human suffering of Syrian people.
While cooperation between the UN and the EU has strengthened in field operations, we are glad that it has also strengthened on political and strategic levels. For example, in Afghanistan, efforts to unitedly promote the rule of law have evolved. Both organizations have affirmed that a sustainable peace can only be achieved through a negotiated and inclusive political settlement. Estonia is extremely worried about the growing level of violence that has taken a heavy toll on the civilian population. We urge the Taliban to immediately end violence and commit itself to the peace negotiations. The historic momentum for peace and stability that all Afghans have longed for after decades of immense human suffering, should not be left unused.
Mr. Borrell, you mentioned that sanctions are never an end in themselves but a tool to push for the respect of universal rights. We could not agree more. The EU and the UN sanctions are targeted and do not obstruct in any way the fight against the pandemic or the delivery of humanitarian aid.
Finally, there is no doubt that climate change is making the world a more challenging place. The Security Council must do more to fully understand climate-related security risks and integrate this knowledge into all aspects of its work.
Mr. Borrell, thank you once again for your excellent briefing which reminded us how deep, important and multifaceted the EU- UN cooperation is.