TALLINN - Estonia's Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur, who visited Latvia on Monday, said that the medium-range air defense capability being acquired together with Latvia and the HIMARS light multiple rocket launcher system that both countries are about to adopt to their arsenals will increase the security of the region.
On his first foreign visit, Pevkur discussed the possibilities for Estonian-Latvian cooperation with his Latvian counterpart Artis Pabriks. In strengthening the region's defense capabilities, the countries will focus on the joint procurement of medium-range air defense, the capability development related to the MLRS/HIMARS land-based multiple rocket launcher, the implementation of the Madrid Summit decisions and the need to continue assisting Ukraine, spokespeople for the Estonian Ministry of Defense said.
"One of the main tasks in our cooperation at the moment is to move forward with the Estonian-Latvian joint procurement of medium-range air defense systems. I hope that the governments of both countries will make the necessary decisions quickly in order to start the actual purchase process," Pevkur said after the meeting.
"The cooperation project on capability development regarding HIMARS multiple rocket launchers is a second important priority. We also want to quickly move forward with the defense cooperation agreement between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The close cooperation between the three Baltic states will only strengthen with this," he added.
The ministers also discussed Estonia's experience with the reserve force and conscription and their importance as a pillar of a country's independent defense capability.
"We acknowledge Latvia's plan to return to conscription. The strength of small countries' will to defend themselves and their independent defense capability lies in their reserve forces," said Pevkur.
Pevkur and Pabriks also laid wreaths at the monument to the first commander-in-chief of the Latvian armed forces, Col. Oskars Kalpaks.