At their meeting in Stockholm today, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt confirmed both Estonia and Sweden’s participation in the European Union Nordic Battle Group in the first half of 2011. Estonia will participate in the battle group with 50 soldiers. Paet stated that comprehensive and close co-operation with Sweden is important to Estonia. “Sweden and Estonia are participating together in the stabilisation of Afghanistan, and we share the viewpoint that international contributions must continue until Afghanistan no longer poses a threat to the rest of the world,” he added.
The foreign ministers also spoke about European Union-Russia relations. Paet and Bildt confirmed their support for Russia joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO). “We still must resolve the border-crossing queue problem,” Paet added. In talking about the upcoming Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) summit, Paet and Bildt both felt that the OSCE must seriously address Georgia’s territorial integrity and matters related to the Transnistria and Nagorno-Karabakh frozen conflict. The ministers also expressed Estonia and Sweden’s support for the continuation of European Union enlargement negotiations with Turkey and Iceland and the conclusion of negotiations with Croatia.
Estonia and Sweden are also preparing a visa representation agreement, according to which Sweden would start representing Estonia for the issuing of visas in the Republic of South Africa and Cuba.
Foreign Minister Paet will also meet today with European Union Affairs Minister Birgitta Ohlsson. During his visit, the minister also plans to meet with the Estonian community in Stockholm.
Estonian and Swedish Foreign Ministers Consider Participation in Nordic Battle Group Good Example of Close Co-operation