Mikser: single vote not enough to deter US support (1)

Marian Võsumets
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Photo: Sander Ilvest

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE) said on Postimees Live yesterday that fears according to which voting against the USA in the UN could curb US support for Estonia and Europe are baseless.

“No single vote can jeopardize the unity of the democratic world,” he said.

“First of all, we would do well to put some facts straight, Mikser said, commenting on recent news that America will cut its contribution to the UN budget by €285 million. “The decision to cut the main UN budget by €200 million was communicated back in October. The European Union wanted a further €170 million cut.”

The minister said that the process of cutting the UN budget began long before the UN General Assembly passed a resolution condemning President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“Now, a somewhat smaller austerity package than what the US and EU initially sought was agreed,” Mikser said. “It is, however, a notable reduction,” he added.

Mikser added that the US wanted to cut the UN peacekeeping budget in connection with peacekeepers’ harassment and sexual offenses scandals in summer, and said that the cut is therefore not a reaction to last week’s vote.

The minister said that Estonia has been consistent when it comes to the Middle-East peace process, which the decision to vote for the UN resolution that sparked certain domestic indignation clearly demonstrated.

“The UN Security Council has passed a number of resolutions that do not prescribe any unilateral changes to the status of Jerusalem. That status can only change as a result of an agreement between the two sides, and neither Estonia nor other members of the international community should adopt positions regarding what that status should be,” Mikser explained. “It cannot be dictated from the outside. It needs to be reached during negotiations.

Such declarations certainly carry a domestic policy element,” Mikser said in comment of Trump’s statement and campaign promise.

“The European Union will not adopt a position as to how politicians fulfill their election promises,” he said. “However, the EU is right to be concerned over how the decision will affect the security situation in the region. It will have a direct effect on European security should it result in religious feelings flaring up and extremist groups finding new momentum for promoting their agendas.”

Mikser eased the minds of those who believe Estonia could lose US support by standing its ground in the UN. “Do not be afraid. Uncertainty in terms of where the US is headed has been around for years. Those fears are baseless – no single vote can jeopardize the unity of the democratic world.”

Mikser believes no abrupt changes of course are on the horizon in US or EU policy. “Just as the United States will remain the most important ally for Estonia and Europe, so too will Europe remain the most like-minded and valuable ally for America,” the minister said. “Less fear and more constructive work in solving the world’s crises with as little collateral damage as possible.”