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Statement by H.E. Mr Jüri Ratas, Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia At Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, 24 September 2018, New York

24.09.2018

Honourable President of the General Assembly, Mrs. Espinosa Garcés,
Excellency’s,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my honour to speak here today about the legacy of Nelson Mandela and his outstanding service to humanity. It is an example for all of us as well as for the future generations.

His endless fight for peace, human rights and democracy has permanently changed how we live today. His self-sacrificing aspirations for African freedom has inspired many. Nelson Mandela has said that, the sight of freedom looming on the horizon should encourage us to redouble our efforts. Likewise, in 1990 Estonia was on the path to regain the most precious thing – our freedom. We sincerely appreciate Nelson Mandela’s dedication and persistence for freedom and justice because Estonians know very well the price of peace and independence.

We welcome the adoption of the Nelson Mandela Political Declaration, which calls for the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace. This will take forward the work started by African Union under Nelson Mandela Decade of Reconciliation in Africa. Peaceful solutions and preventive actions are the most efficient way to avoid an escalation of disputes. Estonia calls upon the involvement of all actors, including women and youth, in resolving the disputes in peaceful manner. We find that reaching a peaceful outcome through negotiations and compromises is always a better path to sustainable solutions.

Estonia believes that every person in the world should live in dignity. We continue to promote freedom, equality and prosperity. However, we should be reminded that we are standing at the crossroads, once again. The disputes today and the challenges of past decades are threatening the world we live in and the values we share. It is our decision which path we choose. The choice is between the world of alienation and hatred or the world of unity and prosperity. Looking back at the lifelong struggle of Nelson Mandela and at the example of our own aspirations for independence, we should keep in mind that positive changes can never be taken for granted.

To conclude,

At the United Nations, we are reminded every day of the importance of human rights by Four Freedoms Park across the water. This sight should guide us in our work for justice, freedom and dignity.
Thank you!

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