Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and US Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip H. Gordon discussed Estonia-US co-operation, the future of NATO, and other current international topics during their meeting in Tallinn on Thursday, 13 August. Foreign Minister Paet emphasised NATO’s irreplaceable role in the security of its allies and for ensuring strong transatlantic co-operation. “Collective defence is NATO’s primary function, which must be visible and evident both within the alliance and outside of it,” said Foreign Minister Paet.
Paet and Gordon discussed contributing to the stabilisation and reconstruction of Afghanistan, including within the framework of NATO’s ISAF operation. Estonia sent an additional infantry company, Estcoy-E, to Afghanistan to provide security for the presidential election taking place on 20 August. It is under the command of the US’s 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and is working in the southern part of Helmand Province. Paet mentioned the excellent co-operation between the US and Estonia in international operations. “Considering our earlier successful co-operation, we would certainly like to continue military co-operation with the United States in various operations,” stated Foreign Minister Paet. “Preparations are currently going on for the creation of a US-Estonia Operational Mentor and Liaison Team (OMLT),” Paet added.
Foreign Minister Paet and US Assistant Secretary Gordon also addressed the creation of a new strategic concept for NATO. Paet said that Article 5, which is NATO’s primary responsibility, and NATO’s readiness to fulfil this responsibility are important to Estonia. “The primary idea behind NATO is ensuring the indivisible of the security of its allies, and this must be backed up by NATO’s strategic concept,” he added. Paet stated that Estonia is pleased to be organising next spring’s NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Tallinn.
The two also addressed further NATO enlargement at the meeting. The Estonian foreign minister emphasised the importance of continuing NATO’s open-door policy and noted his support for the integration of Georgia and Ukraine with NATO. According to Assistant Secretary Gordon, the United States continues to support NATO enlargement.
Gordon and Paet discussed the situation in Georgia. Foreign Minister Paet emphasised the significant contribution of the European Union Monitoring Mission to supporting security in Georgia. “After the missions of other international organisations have ended, the European Union Monitoring Mission plays a very important role in stabilising the security situation in Georgia,” asserted the Estonian foreign minister. Paet and Gordon stated that a long-term solution must honour Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
In talking about the security architecture of Europe, the representatives of Estonia and the United States emphasised that it is important that responsibilities taken on as a result of previous agreements must be fulfilled and that progress is made in resolving existing crises.
They also discussed supporting the transition states in Eastern Europe and the role of European Union Eastern Partnership in this endeavour.
While discussing the US’s relations with Europe, the Estonian foreign minister noted that the development of EU-US co-operation and strong relations are very essential. “It is important for a wide range of issues, from the development of Eastern Partnership and supporting reforms in Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus to opportunities for opening up the Western Balkan countries,” Paet said. “It is also very important to intensify co-operation between the European Union and the United States in the field of energy security,” he added. Paet stated that an EU-US energy council should be established as soon as possible.
When they spoke about relations between Estonia and the United States, Foreign Minister Paet emphasised that they have always been very good. “The US is an essential partner for Estonia. Our co-operation takes place in many areas, as we share the same values,” said Paet. The meeting was also preparation for Foreign Minister Urmas Paet’s visit to the United States in the fall.
The recording of the press conference can be heard at: http://web-static.vm.ee/static...
Paet: US is Important Ally for Estonia