UNITED NATIONS, January 22. /TASS/. Estonia and other Western nations should better "look in the mirror" before calling a United Nations Security Council meeting on the situation in Belarus, Russia’s First Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dmitry Polyansky said on Friday.
Addressing an informal online meeting of the UN Security Council, he drew attention to the violations of the freedom of speech in Estonia, one of the initiators of Friday’s meeting on the situation in Belarus. "The daily program Estonia’s News stopped broadcasts from March 2020 under pressure from the authorities. Nearly all Russian mass media outlets in Estonia face similar problems. The most widely practices form of discrimination is denial of accreditation to national or international events," he said, adding that this negative tendency is also manifested in visa problems Russian journalists are faced with when they try to enter that country.
"It looks like you find it easier to discuss Belarus’ problems rather than attend to these shameful problems at home," the Russian diplomat said. "I call on Estonia and our other Western friends to bear this in mind and look in the mirror before coming out with such initiatives [to convene informal meetings of the United Nations Security Council]."
On January 22, the United Nations Security Council is holding an Arria-formula meeting, i.e. an informal session, which is being attended by Belarus’ former presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. The meeting was initiated by Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Arria-formula meetings have been practiced since 1992 and received their name from Venezuelan Ambassador Diego Arria, who initiated this format.
An Arria-formula meeting can be called by any Security Council member who can invite rapporteurs from among public figures or non-government organizations. Other nations cannot block such a meeting but can dodge participation. Such meetings are not held at the Security Council premises and yield no resolutions or official documents.