TALLINN – The delegation of the foreign affairs committee of the Estonian parliament visited Washington, D.C. to meet with members of the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States, according to committee chairman Marko Mihkelson, security assistance to the Baltic states should remain at least on the current level.
The meetings focused on strengthening the security of the Baltic States and the possibilities for preventing the deepening of the security crisis in our region, parliament spokespeople said.
In the opinion of foreign affairs committee chairman Marko Mihkelson, there could not have been a better time for the visit than now when both the Senate and the House of Representatives are discussing the defense budget for the next year. One of the key topics at the meetings was the Baltic Security Initiative budget package or the defense assistance to the Baltic states. Mihkelson emphasized that it was vital to continue the initiative at least to the current extent or to increase the assistance, which would help to fill the key gaps in our defense planning.
Mihkelson also spoke of the latest developments on the border of Ukraine. "At the moment, it is very important to demonstrate the unity of the NATO allies. We are standing behind Ukraine and we are ready to help the Ukrainians with real defense capability," Mihkelson said. "Due to the escalation of Russia’s possible military activities against Ukraine, the situation is undeniably critical. Attack against Ukraine is an attack against us all, against the democratic countries," he added.
Committee member Indrek Saar underlined that the visit proved that the worrying security developments in our region caused concern also to Estonia’s most important ally, the United States. "The meetings confirmed that our concerns are shared and that the Americans understand the importance of defense assistance for Estonia and the other Baltic states," he said. Saar added that the discussions at the meetings had also focused on how to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Baltic states next year.
The delegation of the foreign affairs committee included chairman of the committee Marko Mihkelson and members of the committee Indrek Saar, Maria Jufereva-Skuratovski and Raivo Tamm.