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Foreign Minister Reinsalu: unfortunately, not all have learnt the lessons of the Second World War

8. May 2020 - 19:19

Presenting Estonia’s national statement at a high-level event commemorating the end of the Second World War in Europe, Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu emphasised that unfortunately conflicts have not stopped in Europe and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and Georgia continued.

According to Reinsalu, this contradicts the three major lessons of the Second World War: to protect our freedom, to reject the illegal use of force and to cooperate towards achieving and upholding peace.

“The Second World War was a tragedy that brought untold sorrow to humankind, particularly in Europe, but also Asia, Africa, the Pacific and other parts of the world, resulting in the death of more than 40 million civilians and 20 million soldiers. We commemorate all those who perished,” the Estonian foreign minister said.

In his statement, Reinsalu condemned attempts at manipulating history. “We appreciate the historic role of the allied forces and their sacrifices in defeating Nazism and putting an end to the Holocaust. At the same time, we reject recent attempts to manipulate historical events and justify the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, as we have seen made by the Russian Federation,” Reinsalu said. He drew attention to the fact that for Eastern Europe, the end of the Second World War did not mean the end of dictatorship, and said it was necessary to carry out moral assessments and conduct legal inquiries into the crimes of totalitarian Soviet communism and other dictatorships that prevailed in Europe.

According to the foreign minister, unfortunately not everyone has learnt from the experience of the Second World War and given up the brutal use of military force in international relations. “We condemn the ongoing violations of sovereignty and territorial integrity in Europe – the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine in Donbass, the illegal annexation of Crimea and the occupation of the territories of Georgia,” Reinsalu said. He added that we have a responsibility to continue our policy of non-recognition.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made international cooperation particularly crucial. “Effective multilateralism is more important than ever. We need strong values-based alliances and effective co-operative security arrangements,” the foreign minister said.

Referencing the UN Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire, Reinsalu underscored that the Security Council must overcome its differences and lead by example.

As part of Estonia’s UN Security Council Presidency, nearly 80 UN member states are meeting tonight virtually, including 50 foreign or deputy foreign ministers. It is the largest high-level event under the UN since the start of the pandemic. The event is moderated by the Estonian foreign minister, with opening statements were made by High Representative of the European Union Josep Borrell, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo and Professor of History at Yale University Timothy Snyder.

The meeting lasts until late this evening. Everyone can watch the livestream on the Foreign Ministry’s YouTube and Facebook channels. The event is also livestreamed on news portals as well as the websites of the Foreign Ministry and the Estonian Mission to the UN. The event is held on the secure virtual events platform Hybridity, which was developed in Estonia.

Photos: (Raigo Pajula)
Estonia’s national statement in full:
Nationals statements by participating countries:

Additional information:

Britta Tarvis
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
Communication Department
5194 7045

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