Estonia Highly Values Contribution of Soldiers Participating in Foreign Missions
Rahvusvahelised uudised 23 Jun 2013  EWR
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Estonian Review 19 June
While meeting with the soldiers in the Scouts Battalion in Paldiski today, [June 19th] Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that Estonia highly values the contribution of soldiers participating in foreign missions. “Estonian soldiers who are serving or have served in foreign countries help to ensure stability and security in concrete mission zones, but also make a major contribution to ensuring broader international security, including that of Estonia,” Paet emphasised.

Foreign Minister Paet noted that members of our Defence Forces have participated in international operations led by NATO, the European Union, and the UN since 1995. “One of the most important and also most difficult missions has been participation in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan,” Paet noted. The foreign minister added that the activities of Estonian soldiers in Afghanistan have helped to ensure security in Helmand Province and our soldiers’ skilled work has earned widespread international recognition.

The Estonian foreign minister said that yesterday President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai announced that Afghan forces had taken responsibility for security onto themselves across the entire country. “One of the major goals of the years-long work of ISAF, including the Estonian members, has been for the country’s security forces to develop to the point where the Afghans can take responsibility onto themselves,” said Paet. “Now this has been accomplished, and Estonian soldiers played an important role in reaching this goal. However, it is now necessary for an agreement to be reached among Afghanistan’s various political powers in order for stable development to continue,” he emphasised.

The foreign minister added that since Afghanistan will still need the support of the international community after the Estonian forces have left in 2014, Estonia is prepared to contribute to NATO’s new training mission in Afghanistan with a special operations unit and a staff officer.
 
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