Baltic heads of state discuss security, cooperation with U.S. vice president

  • 2017-07-31
  • LETA/TBT Staff

TALLINN, July 31 (LETA--BNS) - Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid met with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, the following meeting between the heads of state of Baltic countries and the U.S. vice president focused on the region's security and transatlantic cooperation.

At a roundtable on cyber issues and innovation in Kadriorg on Monday, Kaljulaid said that European and U.S. citizens and businesses have been in the digital sphere for a while and that countries should not be the last to get there, the president's office reported. "The states' challenge is to make the lives of its people run smoother. So one of the most important tasks of a country is to ensure the identification of its citizens. Every country issues paper passports, but only a few offer secure identification in the digital world. We cannot leave our citizens alone in the digital sphere and must be able to ensure their security there as well," the president said.

The head of state said that the security of the digital world is to a larger extent also a question of cyber hygiene and added that the key issue here is people's awareness and the increasing of it, not difficult technical solutions.

The meeting between the three heads of state and the vice president focused on transatlantic relations and security issues as well as on the cooperation between the European Union and the United States.

"Increasing transatlantic relations is one of the priorities of the Estonian presidency of the Council of the European Union. The basis of that cooperation is common values, which we stand for on both sides of the Atlantic, in Tallinn and in Washington -- the unconditional respect for democracy and the principles of the rule of law and human rights," Kaljulaid said.

The meeting also included discussion of the security situation in Europe in a broader context. The president said that Estonia is constantly developing independent defense capabilities and contributing to NATO in the field of defense spending, cyber security and the fight against terrorism. "We are glad that NATO's collective deterrence and defense position in the Baltic region has intensified and the contribution of the United States to ensuring the safety of the region is indispensable," the Estonian head of state said.

The Baltic heads of state and the U.S. vice president on Monday are also meeting with commander of the Estonian Defense Forces Gen. Riho Terras and with the British, French and Estonian troops serving as part of the NATO battle group stationed in Estonia.