The Munich Security Conference, which took place from Friday to Sunday, focused first and foremost on NATO’s values and primary responsibilities. Estonian Defence Minister Jaak Aaviksoo and Foreign Minister Urmas Paet attended the conference and stated that the international security experts confirmed the belief that NATO is a values-based organisation and the principle of collective defence is central to the functioning of the alliance. While giving a presentation in Munich, the Secretary General of the alliance Anders Fogh Rasmussen also emphasised that NATO possesses military capabilities and solidarity for the protection of its member states.
In addition to NATO development and the starting points for the new strategic concept, other topics discussed at the conference were activities in Afghanistan, developments in the Middle East, and matters of arms control.
Foreign Minister Paet stated that one important subject at the conference was the co-operation of NATO and its allies in Afghanistan. It was acknowledged at the conference that the Afghanistan operation faces a huge challenge—success is attainable, but only in co-operation with the Afghan people. “The next few years will be decisive in terms of the success of the Afghanistan operation. Estonia will continue its participation in Afghanistan—we will continue contributing in the military, civil and development sectors,” said Foreign Minister Urmas Paet.
Another topic on the agenda of this year’s Munich Security Conference was Russia’s proposal for new European security architecture. The resounding position was that Europe already has the necessary structures and mechanisms for ensuring its security, they must simply be better used and the agreed principles must be observed. “Security today is wider than just socio-political or military matters. Human rights and their protection also play a major role,” stressed Estonian Foreign Minister Paet.
At the bilateral meeting that took place on Saturday between Minister of Defence Jaak Aaviksoo and his colleague from the United Kingdom Bob Ainsworth, topics discussed included co-operation in Afghanistan, plans for Estonia’s strategic air policing, and NATO budgetary matters. Aaviksoo emphasised that the formulation of a NATO budget must be based upon military counsel and the assessment of risk.
“Solidarity among member states is all the greater when contributions to the budget from member states are proportional and the weight of the missions is carried evenly,” said Defence Minister Jaak Aaviksoo.
Additional information can be found on the conference’s official homepage:
Group of Factors that Determine International Security Constantly Expanding