TALLINN - In his remarks at a dinner on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Council of Europe, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu called upon the Council of Europe to remain resolute in continuing the dialogue on Russia fulfilling its obligations as a member state.
"We must remain unwavering when confronting blatant violations of human rights and the rule of law, such as the ones Russia is carrying out in the occupied territories of Ukraine and Georgia. The decision by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to introduce sanctions against Russia after the annexation of Crimea was fully justified, and the body must continue to have the right to react to violations of statutory obligations independently," the Estonian minister said according to spokespeople.
Reinsalu highlighted the role of the Council of Europe as one of the most important promoters of democratic values and the rule of law.
"All 47 member states, without exception, must abide by these principles, and Russia's continued aggression must under no circumstances be rewarded. Estonia will continue to be one of the most vocal supporters of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and Georgia," he said.
The focus of the meeting held at the Finlandia Hall was on current challenges to the future of the Council of Europe.
The Estonian minister congratulated Finland on a successful presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. According to Reinsalu, Finland has done a stellar job at raising the question of artificial intelligence and its relation to human rights. He wished every success to France, the next president of the Committee of Ministers.
The Council of Europe was established on May 5, 1949 to uphold and promote human rights, the rule of law, and democracy. Today, the Council of Europe has 47 member states and its function is to protect the rights of more than 830 million people.