Estonia not questioning US' right to self-defense

  • 2020-01-06
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said in an interview with the "Aktuaalne kaamera" evening news program of public ETV television that the United States used its right to self-defense when organizing the attack on Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Iraq and added that Estonia is not questioning it.

According to Reinsalu, NATO's decision to suspend training missions in Iraq meant that NATO would not remove the advisers, but that they would not participate in advisory activities and training because, according to the threat assessment, the mission leader found it to be risky. "Undoubtedly, the area where our troops are currently on the US mission -- threat assessments are definitely made on a running basis -- remains outside the acute crisis center in Baghdad," the minister was quoted by the news portal of public broadcaster ERR.

Reinsalu said that the precedent created by the attack by the US is not such as to change the dynamics of international relations as a whole, including the interpretation of the Charter of the United Nations. "For example, while there was a great deal of concern and criticism that they [US] were reducing their presence in Syria, then, in fact, the basis on which the United States justified its military mission in Syria was namely the exercise of Iraqi collective self-defense right over Syrian territory," the minister said.

"So if we look at this situation of tension now, how much Iran has provoked in the last year as regards the detention of ships in the Strait of Hormuz, the downing of a US drone, the firing of Saudi oil fields, Hezbollah's actions," Reinsalu said.

According to the minister, it must be said that the United States undoubtedly has its own right to self-defense under the UN Charter. "I was in contact with the US charge d'affaires yesterday, he has also informed me that they actually had intelligence that the person in question [Qasem Soleimani] who was hit by the missile was planning to attack the United States. So they exercised their right to self-defense, and the Republic of Estonia is not questioning it in any way," Reinsalu said.