TALLINN - The foreign ministers of 10 countries on Thursday issued a joint statement in which they emphasized that the end of World War II and the defeat of Nazi Germany did not bring freedom to all of Europe.
Marking the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in 2020, the foreign ministers of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and the United States paid tribute to the victims and to all soldiers who fought to defeat Nazi Germany and put an end to the Holocaust, the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
While May 1945 brought the end of World War II in Europe, it did not bring freedom to all of Europe. The central and eastern part of the continent remained under the rule of communist regimes for almost 50 years. The Baltic states were illegally occupied and annexed and the iron grip over the other captive nations was enforced by the Soviet Union using overwhelming military force, repression, and ideological control, the statement said.
The foreign ministers noted that for many decades, numerous Europeans from the central and eastern part of the continent sacrificed their lives striving for freedom, as millions were deprived of their rights and fundamental freedoms, subjected to torture and forced displacement. Societies behind the Iron Curtain desperately sought a path to democracy and independence. The events of 1956, the Prague Spring, Charter 77, the Solidarity movement, the Baltic Way, the Autumn of Nations of 1989, and the collapse of the Berlin Wall were of symbolic importance in the rebirth of our region.
"With this statement, the signatory countries stress the need to protect the facts of history and grant justice for the victims of all totalitarian regimes," Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said. "Manipulating the historical events that led to World War II and to the division of Europe in the aftermath of the war constitutes a regrettable effort to falsify history," he added.
The ministers who joined the statement would like to remind all members of the international community that lasting international security, stability and peace requires genuine and continuous adherence to international law and norms, including the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states.
By learning the cruel lessons of World War II, the ministers called on the international community to firmly reject the concept of spheres of influence and insist on the equality of all sovereign nations.