ALAR KARIS, President of Estonia, said “we are different as humans, States and societies, but I’m sure that some things are universal — the simple wish for a better tomorrow.” The world is facing intertwined crises reversing development gains, with attempts to bend, ignore or forget the international rules, leading to conflict, ethnic cleansing, and human rights violations in Yemen, Afghanistan, Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and other States. Turning to Ukraine, he cited the story of a woman named Anna, one of many who fled Kyiv for refuge in Estonia, while the Russian Federation continues to shamelessly destroy hospitals, kindergartens and grain storages. Noting that Moscow invaded a sovereign country under fabricated pretexts, for neo-imperial and colonial aspirations, he asked: “What is that great about colonizing another country?” The outcome of the war, he affirmed, will greatly determine the future world in which children will live.
He called for Moscow’s political and military leadership to bear individual responsibility for launching the war of aggression, a crime against peace, and a misuse of the Security Council. “A lie is always a lie, no matter how nice it sounds,” he stressed. Meanwhile, if impunity is allowed to prevail, the international community puts its virtues, values and moral norms in question, as the international response to the war has an existential significance for all. In that context, he emphasized the need for Council reform while the world is out of joint, as that 15-member organ is “close to a dead end”, unable to act or make decisions on the biggest conflicts in the heart of Europe after the Second World War. That paralysis has numerous global implications, including the inability to offer conflict resolution or address migration and food security.
The world needs a Council that can fulfil its tasks, and give hope to those suffering under fear, aggression and violence, with those responsible facing justice even if they hold the right of veto. He called for adjusting its structure and working methods — “and yes, this is possible” — to offer hope to those physically injured, mentally damaged, homeless, and starving boys and girls in Syria, Yemen, Ukraine and elsewhere. He urged parties to show flexibility, abandon well-known and documented positions and “turn a blank page”. Defining the central issue as use of the veto, he stressed that it should not exist if there is suspicion that the Member State using it may have acted against international law. His delegation supports the proposal by the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group to limit the veto right in cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Future composition of that organ, he affirmed, should always reflect a fair distribution between continents and regions, with small, medium and big States all represented. In addition, it must be more transparent and open to immensely increase its efficiency, as the international community has a right to know what is discussed in the chamber. Should any situation arise where the Council is unable to function as expected, he cited the positive development of the General Assembly’s newfound greater influence to successfully overcome use of the veto if required. After two world wars in the previous century, the international community said never again. “Do we need another world war to create a new, better world order that is up to its task?” he asked; or are Member States wise enough to use international law to solve conflict and maintain peace and security.
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