TALLINN - The foreign ministers of the Baltic states and United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed cooperation and security issues at a meeting on Wednesday.
The foreign ministers reaffirmed their desire to continue close cooperation and discussed regional matters as well as issues regarding NATO, EU, Russia and China, spokespeople for the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
"Together with Latvia and Lithuania, we reaffirmed our support for NATO and the importance of the presence of U.S.," Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets said. "We must work to ensure that NATO continues to strengthen defense and deterrence. Also by perpetuating and increasing the military presence of the allies in the Baltic states. As Russia's neighbors, we know the threats coming from there most directly, therefore we appreciate the desire of the U.S. to communicate namely with us on this issue."
According to Liimets, Blinken confirmed the continued commitment of the United States to the security of the Baltic states.
The ministers also discussed at length the need to support the Eastern Partners, in particular Georgia and Ukraine, and what is happening in Belarus.
The ministers also spoke about China's growing influence. "We share our concern about what is happening in China, such as human rights violations and security holes in technology. It is in Estonia's interests to develop and maintain common messages and a common policy on China with the European Union, NATO and like-minded partners. We also talked about the Three Seas Initiative, the economic projects of which aim to improve transport, energy and digital connections in the region and increase economic growth and resilience. We are glad that the U.S. has promised to invest in the Three Seas Fund," the minister said.
"We share our views on the future of NATO with the new U.S. secretary of state. NATO must address new threats and continue to focus on collective defense," Liimets said. "It is still important for Estonia that the cooperation between NATO and the European Union is further strengthened and that we involve other partners more as well."