TALLINN - At a meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, Estonian President Alar Karis and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg discussed the current tense security situation in Europe.
"NATO stands between us an a world where stronger states decide the fate of smaller ones without involving them. This was the world of secret protocols and zones of influence, which deprived many European states of their sovereignty and right to existence. No one wants for this to return," Karis said.
"We've reached a tension point the like of which we have not experience since the end of the Cold War. Russia deeming the three Baltic states' accession to NATO a mistake is completely absurd. Joining the alliance was a democratic choice made by free and independent Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. NATO is and will be the most important pillar of security in Europe and Estonia," he said.
"At the recent NATO-Russia Council meeting, we saw that efforts to drive a wedge between NATO member states have failed. The allies agree that NATO's open door policy is to continue and that there is a need to continuously strengthen our deterrence and defense position, which includes training exercises and deployment of units," the Estonian president went on.
The head of state noted that it is regrettable that Russia's military escalation on the Ukrainian border had not ceased.
"We call on Russia to halt its activity, engage in meaningful dialogue and increase transparency," Karis said. He expressed strong support to Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
The president thanked Stoltenberg for the determination and resolve with which the NATO secretary general has led the allies' discussions during the process of shaping shared positions.
Karis and Stoltenberg also discussed at the meeting the presence of NATO units in Estonia, which is an integral part of the alliance's strong deterrence and defense position in the Baltic region. The head of state underscored that Estonia also contributes to NATO security.
Topics discussed at the meeting also included preparations for the NATO summit in Madrid.