Estonian president to discuss support for Ukraine at Council of Europe summit

  • 2023-05-16
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Estonian President Alar Karis will attend a Council of Europe summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, on Tuesday and Wednesday, where the heads of state or government of 46 countries will focus on supporting Ukraine and holding Russia accountable for crimes of aggression.

The summit will start on Tuesday with an opening session and round table discussions on democracy, human rights and support for Ukraine. Karis will participate in a high-level round table discussion with representatives from the United States, the Netherlands, Croatia, Ireland, Sweden, Slovenia, Finland, Ukraine, the European Commission and the OSCE, spokespeople for the president said.

The high-level summit will focus on the Council of Europe's role in supporting Ukraine during and after the Russian aggression, holding Russia accountable for atrocities, and the safe return of Ukrainian children home when the situation allows.

On Wednesday, the Estonian head of state will deliver remarks at a panel discussion, where he will focus on holding Russia accountable for its crimes of aggression. Member states are expected to adopt the Reykjavik Declaration. An important outcome of the Council of Europe summit will be an agreement on the establishment of a register of damage caused by the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine.

Karis also has a meeting scheduled in Reykjavik with his Icelandic counterpart Gudni Thorlacius Johannesson.

The aim of the summit taking place in Reykjavik is to support Ukraine and help the victims of Russia's war of aggression to achieve justice, as well as to strengthen the Council of Europe's work in upholding human rights, the rule of law and the fundamental values of democracy in Europe.

This is the fourth summit of the Council of Europe since the organization was established in 1949. The last Council of Europe summit meeting took place in 2005 in Warsaw. In addition to the member states of the Council of Europe, representatives of the European Union, the United Nations and the OSCE have been invited to the summit, along with representatives of the United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico and the Holy See as observers.

The Council of Europe is an organization that aims to promote democracy and protect human rights and the principles of the rule of law in Europe. The organization has 46 member countries. The current chair of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers is Iceland, which will hand this role over to Latvia at the end of the summit.

The president will return to Estonia on Thursday.