TALLINN – Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs secretary general Jonatan Vseviov met with his Icelandic colleague Martin Eyjolfsson in Tallinn on Wednesday for political discussions in order to discuss Russia's war in Ukraine, strengthening the security of the region and on bilateral cooperation more broadly.
The meeting was followed by a discussion between the secretaries general on the global influence of small countries and the opening of a permanent exhibition on relations between Estonia and Iceland.
Vseviov said that Estonia and Iceland have been close allies and friends throughout history, and the current disruptive security situation has further deepened our cooperation.
"Iceland has strongly condemned Russian aggression, supported Ukraine with commitment and joined EU sanctions to pressure Russia to end the war. Today, we discussed further steps to ensure the security of the region, where the implementation of the decisions made at the NATO Madrid summit and the achievement of energy independence are of key importance," Vseviov said.
The secretary general highlighted that it is important for Estonia to move forward as quickly as possible with the strengthening of NATO's eastern flank and with the process of Finland and Sweden joining NATO in order to strengthen the security of the entire Baltic Sea region.
Vseviov stressed that the response to Russia's escalation with declarations of mobilization, nuclear threats and fake referendums for the annexation of the occupied territories of Ukraine must be united and tough.
"New strong sanctions must be imposed on Russia, the international isolation of the aggressor state must be continued, and it must be ensured that the organizers of all crimes committed in Ukraine, including the Russian elite, are held accountable," the secretary general said.
Vseviov noted that at the same time comprehensive military, economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine must be continued to help win the war. At that, the secretaries general also discussed cooperation in the reconstruction of Ukraine, where Estonia is focusing on the restoration of the Zhytomyr region.
Speaking about bilateral cooperation, the secretaries general also discussed the expansion of joint activities in the field of digital and cyber security. Vseviov also praised Iceland for soon joining the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence (NATO CCDCOE) in Tallinn.
Eyjolfsson said that Iceland and Estonia have achieved a lot in the framework of their long-term and fruitful relations. "History has repeatedly shown that small countries can have a strong voice and influence at the global level. The foreign ministers of Estonia and Iceland affirmed in a recently adopted joint declaration that we will jointly face the current serious security threats and challenges. We will focus on shared values also in the future and continue to work together to protect them," he added.
After the political consultations, the secretaries general participated in a discussion about the global influence of small countries in a difficult foreign policy time and Vseviov opened a permanent exhibition dedicated to relations between Estonia and Iceland at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"Iceland was the first brave country to recognize the right to exist of the Estonian people and state 31 years ago and we will never forget this support. As a symbol of this, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also located on Iceland Square. I am very happy that the permanent exhibition opened today gives a new opportunity to tell the guests of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from near and far about a part of history that is so important to us," Vseviov said.