Foreign Minister Urmas Paet met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the headquarters of the NATO alliance in Brussels on Tuesday, 15 September.
At the meeting, Foreign Minister Paet and Secretary General Rasmussen focused primarily on NATO’s new strategic concept, the upcoming NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Tallinn, and the situation in Afghanistan. They agreed that the strategic concept must answer to the problems of today, and it must address new risks and challenges in addition to those that are left over from the 20th century. Rasmussen and Paet said that NATO’s new strategic concept will also be an essential topic at the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting taking place in Tallinn from 22-23 April next year.
Collective defence is the basis for NATO’s work, which is why the backbone of the new strategic concept must be NATO’s visibility, trustworthiness, and the clear expression of its abilities. “Article 5 of the Washington agreement, which is the basis for NATO’s activities, must be reliable,” emphasised Foreign Minister Paet. For Estonia it is essential to ensure the synergy between collective defence and the missions occurring away from the territories of NATO member states. “Both are important and require the contributions of all allies,” noted Paet. He added that it is positive that the working group preparing the strategic concept includes a representative of the Baltic states. Paet and Rasmussen also agreed that co-operation with partners of the alliance, including Russia, is important.
In addition, Paet and Rasmussen talked about the latest developments in Afghanistan. Rasmussen recognised Estonia’s important and visible military and civil contribution in stabilising the situation in Afghanistan. Paet said that Estonia contributes to the most difficult area of Afghanistan - Helmand Province - along with British, American and Danish forces. “Estonia has suffered losses in this mission, and therefore one of our most important principles is that we do not want an incorrect or imprecise strategy to cause the death of a single soldier or civilian,” stressed Paet.
Paet met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen