Estonian Foreign Minister: we intend to raise the “Belarusian issue” in the UN Security Council

The Role of Estonia in the United Nations Security Council | Urmas Reinsalu | Raisina Dialogue 2020

Estonian Foreign Minister: we intend to raise the 'Belarusian issue' in the UN Security Council

Estonian Foreign Minister: we intend to raise &# 171; Belarusian question&# 187; in the UN Security Council

New transparent elections are also the only way out of the crisis in Belarus, emphasizes Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu

Estonian Foreign Minister: we intend to raise the 'Belarusian issue' in the UN Security Council

On Thursday, November 5, within the framework of the Moscow Mechanism of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Special Rapporteur Wolfgang Benedek presented a report on Belarus. In it, the expert group describes the massive falsifications of the Belarusian authorities in the August 9 presidential elections and the subsequent systematic violations of human rights. Thus, the OSCE confirms information about the harsh actions of the Belarusian authorities against peaceful protesters, including detentions without good reason, torture, restriction of freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of speech..

Also, the report provides recommendations for overcoming the political crisis in Belarus, primarily providing for stopping repressions, holding new free and transparent elections and starting a dialogue with representatives of the political opposition and civil society. The international community, in turn, is advised to refrain from recognizing the results of the past presidential elections, to demand the holding of new ones under international supervision and to provide comprehensive support to victims of repression and the Belarusian society..

Also, the expert group of the Moscow Mechanism calls on the international community to assist in the involvement of UN special procedures in the protection and promotion of human rights and to establish a representative office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Belarus..

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia Urmas Reinsalu (Urmas Reinsalu), whose country is one of the initiators of the activation of the Moscow Mechanism against Belarus in September this year, in an interview with the Russian service of the Voice of America notes that Estonia plans to bring the “Belarusian issue” up for discussion in the Security Council in the near future UN.

“It is very important to raise this issue as widely as possible on international platforms,” says the head of the Estonian Foreign Ministry. – And Estonia considers it very important to do this at the UN level as well. In the near future, based on the report of the OSCE rapporteur, we plan to raise this issue in the Security Council “.

As Urmas Reinsalu explains, Estonia intends to raise the issue of the situation in Belarus in the UN Security Council within the framework of the “Any other questions” procedure..

This format is used in the UN to discuss those topics that are unlikely to be brought up on the official agenda and broadly discussed in the Security Council. Earlier, Estonia had already submitted the “Belarusian issue” for discussion by the Security Council in this format, and also organized an informal meeting with the participation of opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Estonia has become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2020-2021 for the first time and is using the new powers to influence the shaping of the agenda. However, the most influential countries that have the right to veto decisions of the UN Security Council and the power to block the removal of issues on the agenda are the five permanent members – the United States, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom..

As noted by Urmas Reinsalu, Estonia’s removal of the discussion of the situation in Belarus in the UN Security Council was also touched upon during his yesterday’s phone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Commenting on the conclusions of the report of the expert group of the OSCE Moscow Mechanism on Belarus, the head of the Estonian Foreign Ministry stressed that the organization of new elections is the only way out of the crisis in the country..

“The first step that the Belarusian authorities must take is to put an end to the violence. Second, release all political prisoners and bring to justice those who used violence. It is also very important to start a political dialogue. The only way out of the crisis is to hold free and fair elections, ”says Urmas Reinsalu, adding that the recommendations presented in the report for overcoming the political crisis in Belarus amount to more than 90 points..

“This report is an objective assessment of the large-scale violations of human rights by the Belarusian authorities and clearly demonstrates the massive fraud during the so-called presidential elections in August,” he adds..

In light of the continued manifestation of brutality by the Belarusian authorities against peaceful protesters and refusal to dialogue with the opposition, Urmas Reisalu notes that Western countries should expand the sanctions list. At the same time, the Estonian Foreign Minister does not exclude the possibility that Western countries will have to resort to additional economic sanctions in order to increase pressure on the Lukashenka regime..

“Personal sanctions have obvious moral value, but there is no doubt that sectoral sanctions can be more effective. But, of course, they need to be developed very carefully so as not to harm people, ”emphasizes the Estonian Foreign Minister..

Also, Western countries need to provide support to the Belarusian civil society, emphasizes Urmas Reinsalu. This includes providing humanitarian aid to victims of political repression, accepting students expelled from Belarusian universities and supporting independent Belarusian media. Estonia, he notes, for its part, has begun the development of a number of programs in this direction..

“This is the least that countries that support the freedom of the people of Belarus can do,” says the Estonian minister. “We will also be very happy to host the next Congress of the Diaspora of Belarus in Estonia”.

Earlier, in response to the report presented in the framework of the OSCE Moscow Mechanism, the Belarusian authorities stated that they categorically rejected the outlined assessment of the situation in the country. As stated by the Permanent Representative of Belarus to the OSCE Andrei Dapkiunas, the content of the report does not take into account the official position of the Belarusian authorities and is based on insufficiently confirmed facts. Thus, the Belarusian authorities do not consider the submitted document legally binding and should not follow the recommendations contained therein. The countries themselves initiating the creation of an expert group within the framework of the Moscow Mechanism, without exhausting all the possibilities for political dialogue, launched the most confrontational version of the Moscow Mechanism, which practically excludes the possibility of cooperation between the parties, the Belarusian authorities also said.

The initiators of the independent expert group on Belarus under the Moscow Mechanism include 17 OSCE participating states – the Baltic countries, France, Great Britain, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, the Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Romania, Canada and USA.

The Moscow Mechanism is a form of OSCE work to monitor the implementation of commitments made by participating States in the field of human rights and democracy. It allows the creation of independent expert missions to assess the situation in the 57 OSCE member states. Belarus has been a member of the OSCE since 1993.

  • Valeria Jegisman

    Journalist «Voices of America». Prior to that, she worked for international non-governmental organizations in Washington and London, in the Russian-language version of the Estonian daily newspaper “Postimees” and as a spokesman for the Estonian Ministry of Internal Affairs. Interests – international relations, politics, economics

    Estonian Foreign Minister: we intend to raise the 'Belarusian issue' in the UN Security Council

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