Yesterday 28 May, Josep Borrell, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy briefed the Security Council at Estonia’s invitation.
The meeting looked at ongoing crises where both the European Union and the UN are involved in resolution efforts.
Foreign Minister Reinsalu said that the cooperation of the UN and the European Union in conflict resolution was crucial, and particularly in the neighbourhood of Europe. “The growing instability in Europe’s immediate neighbourhood demands our joint commitment and close attention. A good example is the recently-established EU operation IRINI, which monitors the UN Security Council’s established arms embargo on the Libyan coastline, working in close coordination with the UN mission in Libya,” Reinsalu explained. Reinsalu expressed explicit concern for Russia’s increasing military presence in Libya.
Unfortunately, the resolution on COVID-19 is still at a standstill at the Security Council. “It is most unfortunate that this Council has not been able to vocally stand behind the Secretary-General’s global ceasefire call by adopting the resolution. We must send a loud and unified message to put the guns down now,” Reinsalu said. As the President, Estonia has nevertheless kept the focus on the impact of the coronavirus on peace and security – a Security Council video meeting on implementing the ceasefire was held with the Secretary-General of the UN two days ago.
Reinsalu also drew attention to the fact that the global pandemic is used as a pretext to call for terminating sanctions. “Let me remind you that European Union and UN sanctions are targeted and do not obstruct the fight against the pandemic, as they also include the possibility of humanitarian exemptions,” Reinsalu said.
The respect for territorial integrity and the prohibition of the use of force are fundamental principles of international law that stand at the core of the UN and EU values. Reinsalu expressed concern over the increased military presence of Russia on the occupied territories of Georgia. Military exercises, the reinforcement of military infrastructure and demarcation continue. “We also deplore any actions that impede the work of the EU Monitoring Mission by restricting access to Abkhazia and South-Ossetia,” Reinsalu said. The foreign minister condemned the aggression against Ukraine in Donbass and the illegal annexation of Crimea.
Reinsalu highlighted the fact that the EU was the world’s largest humanitarian donor, which has helped prevent the worst humanitarian tragedy from occurring in Venezuela and Syria. Reinsalu underlined Estonia’s contribution to supporting the refugees of Venezuela. The foreign minister also shared the position of High Representative Borrell on Hong Kong, stressing the need to respect Hong Kong’s autonomy and the “One country, two systems” principle.
An open meeting on the cooperation of the UN and the European Union is held annually. This is the first time for High Representative Borrell to brief the Security Council. The meeting can be watched on the UN's WebTV.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia