Estonian foreign minister emphasizes government sector's cooperation with parliament at Baltic Council session

  • 2023-11-24
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Speaking at the 29th session of the Baltic Council in the Riigikogu on Friday, Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna recognized the cooperation of the council with the Baltic Assembly and emphasized that the cooperation of the government sector with members of parliament is particularly important in a complex international security situation.

Tsahkna also confirmed the unshakable unity of the Baltic states both in the international arena and in supporting Ukraine.

"We stand together in protecting the gates of the Western world," Tsahkna said. "For Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, existential security interests are at stake in the current security situation."

According to Tsahkna, the attention of the Baltic states must now be on raising the price of aggression.

"We are working in cooperation with other European Union member states on the introduction of new sanctions and effective implementation of existing sanctions, the introduction of a trade embargo can also not be ruled out, if necessary," the foreign minister added.

Tsahkna said that the Baltic states, as border states, play a key role in preventing Russia from evading sanctions. At the same time, joint cooperation is also carried out in order to find a way to hold the aggressor accountable for the crime of aggression and to isolate it on the international scene.

"Also, Russia must be the one to pay for the damage done to Ukraine," Tsahkna said. "The frozen assets of Russia must be used for the reconstruction of Ukraine and I am glad that the Riigikogu discussed the relevant draft law last week. Here, Estonia is ready to show Europe the way with its actions. Europe must develop a common political will to make Russia pay for its aggression."

Tsahkna also noted that Ukraine's future lies in NATO and the European Union and added that the allies must jointly support Kyiv on this path.

"The time of gray areas is over. The policy of neutrality does not work," Tsahkna said. "Both the European Union and NATO must keep their doors open."

In his speech, Tsahkna also emphasized the role of better connectivity in ensuring the security of the Baltic states, including the need to act to ensure that the Rail Baltic railway is completed by 2030. He also spoke about the decoupling of energy connections from Russia and the transition to renewable energy as key steps in the energy policy of the Baltics.