TALLINN - On Friday, the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute of the International Center for Defense and Security organized a high-level international conference titled "Small states in the UN Security Council: Working for peace to overcome the scourge of war".
The conference focused on the impact of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine on the UN Security Council in upholding international peace and security and the options of small nations at the UN Security Council in these circumstances.
"What we have witnessed over the past five weeks is extremely sad and regrettable. We have seen Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, consistently use its veto to block resolutions aimed at saving lives and helping to restore peace in Ukraine. Russia has ignored all international efforts to restore peace in Ukraine and it is something we can never accept," Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets said at the conference.
She added that the aim of the conference was to highlight how Russia's trampling on international law and the UN Charter posed a threat to all people and states regardless of their location on the map.
On the sidelines of the conference, the minister had a joint meeting with her Latvian, Lithuanian and French counterparts and a bilateral meeting with the leader of the Democratic Movement of Belarus, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.
"At today's meeting with the leader of the Belarusian democratic movement Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, I recognized the people of Belarus for not going along with Russia's aggression against Ukraine and the West, not buying into Russian propaganda -- surrendering in Russia's information war -- and for not supporting the pro-Russian and anti-Ukrainian policy of the Belarusian regime. I invited Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya to Estonia, so she could present her immediate perspective on the impact of the war after the international discussion in Tallinn. In the changed security situation, as our neighboring countries are at war, we are nevertheless open to the people of Belarus making their way to Estonia if they are family members of Estonian nationals, or if they are here for a funeral or medical treatment or other humanitarian grounds. I would like to reaffirm Estonia's support to the people of Belarus. Estonia's support for the democratic aspirations of the people of Belarus also remains unchanged," Liimets said.
The main speakers of the conference were Estonian President Alar Karis, the foreign minister, Eva-Maria Liimets, and Secretary-General of the UN Antonio Guterres. The foreign ministers of Ireland, Latvia and France also spoke at the conference. Other participants included Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, leader of the Democratic Movement of Belarus, Ihor Zhovkva, deputy head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Richard Gowan, UN Director of the International Crisis Group, and many others.
The conference also looked at new security challenges, such as cybersecurity and the climate and the impact of conflict on women and girls.
A recording of the conference is available for watching on the website https://efpi.icds.ee/en/estonia-unsc/#programme .