Ladies and Gentlemen,
I address this assembly today for my tenth and last time. The first time I spoke here I addressed climate change and conflict, refugees, and – what was apparently a first at the General Assembly – cyber attacks as the continuation of policy by other means. So the issues are largely the same, only the urgency we sense has ratcheted up.
Certainly the world was more stable then, before the economic crisis, the migration crisis; current conflicts in the wider Middle East or Russia's aggression against Georgia and Ukraine; before the war on truth and facts that seems to have taken over in many places. Despite our concerns at the time, we lived in a world more stable, where optimism was not yet naiveté. Today, in too many parts of the world, we find a conflict either emerging, raging or frozen. Terrorism, always a scourge, dominates our daily headlines in all parts of the world.
Not all of today's conflicts and crises could have been prevented. Yet the effect of many could have been mitigated had we acted sooner, had the proper mechanisms to resolve them been in place. When I addressed this assembly in the wake of Russia's invasion in Georgia in 2008, I warned not to apply international law selectively. International law had been clearly violated, yet little was done. Six years later, in 2014, we saw a repeat performance in Ukraine. Part of a sovereign state was annexed, part turned into a warzone. For the first time since World War II borders in Europe had been changed through use of force. The prohibition on the use of force to change borders lies at the heart of the UN Charter. It was blatantly violated and yet the UN could not make a difference. Russia's aggression in Ukraine continues. Territories of Ukraine and Georgia remain occupied by a foreign military, frozen conflicts remain in Nagorno-Karabakh and Transnistria.
Today in Kadriorg, Letters of Credence were presented to President Toomas Hendrik Ilves by Ambassador of the Republic of France, Claudia Delmas-Scherer, who resides in Tallinn; Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates, Sultan Rashid Sultan Alkaitoob, who resides in Stockholm, and Ambassador of the State of Israel, Dov Segev-Steinberg, and Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria, Martin Ivanov Ivanov, who both reside in Helsinki.
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves sent a letter of condolences to the Head of State of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, on the death of former president of Israel and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres.
International cooperation in defending cyber space needs to focus on legal issues and extend beyond the Euro-Atlantic area, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the President of the Republic of Estonia emphasized today. He was briefed on the latest developments at the Tallinn-based NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence.