Estonia changes tack, won’t side against Israel in UN votes

HELSINKI (AP) — Estonia’s foreign minister says the Baltic country has changed its policy toward Israel and will no longer vote for U.N. resolutions condemning Israeli actions in the occupied Palestinian territories including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Instead, the European country is looking from now on to align its U.N. voting position in such matters with Washington, its closest security policy ally.

According to a report published Monday by the Estonian public broadcaster ERR, Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said Estonia — an European Union and NATO member — recently voted together with the United States against the condemnation of Israel at the U.N.

Previously, Estonia has usually voted for resolutions condemning Israel at the U.N. together with several other countries.

Reinsalu said his country’s foreign policy has changed in this matter.

“Estonia is a member of the EU, and if the EU has a common political position including some U.N. resolutions as well … then naturally we will act in accordance with a jointly agreed EU position,” he said.

However, should the 27 EU countries have differences of opinion, Reinsalu said Estonia would now as a rule align its voting position with Washington.

Reinsalu, who resumed the post of Estonia’s top diplomat in July, didn’t explain what prompted the Baltic nation to make the policy shift.

Estonia, a nation of 1.3 million, held a non-permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council in 2020-2021.

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This story has been corrected to show that the Israeli government isn’t based in Tel Aviv.

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