SECURITY BLANKET: NATO foreign ministers met in Tallinn on April 22 - 23 to discuss the defense organization’s new Strategic Concept, which is expected to be agreed on in November at the Lisbon Summit.
TALLINN - During their meeting on April 22 in Tallinn, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed both Estonia-U.S. and transatlantic co-operation, developments in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, and relations with European Union Eastern Partners. Paet and Clinton confirmed Estonia and the U.S.’ good allied relations, especially in long-term security co-operation.
“The USA’s contribution to the security of Europe as a whole continues to be of utmost importance. Estonia considers its current high-level and close dialogue with its American partners to be especially valuable,” said the Estonian foreign minister. Paet added that Estonia also values its close dialogue with the administration of President Obama.
Clinton, in highlighting the successful co-operation between the two countries, noted that: “When I came here in 1994, Estonia just began building democratic and economic institutions, and when I came back only ten years later, the country was already a proud member of the NATO Alliance and the European Union. Now, in 2010, Estonia is a trusted and valid ally,” she said, adding that the country can fully be considered as a “model for new democracies.”
Paet and Clinton discussed opportunities for developing international co-ordination in Afghanistan. “Developments in Afghanistan confirm the need to continue our military and reconstruction efforts and to effectively co-ordinate them,” asserted Paet. “Estonia will continue making a military contribution to Afghanistan for as long as necessary, and is engaging in ever closer co-operation with the United States in the name of this effort. We share common values in the development co-operation field as well, and we see good co-operation opportunities with the U.S. co-operation agency USAID,” Paet said, noting Estonia’s readiness to expand co-operation with the U.S. in development co-operation. “Afghanistan is a partner country for Estonian development co-operation, and we are dedicated to its reconstruction and have consistently worked to develop the health care system of Helmand Province,” Paet stated.
Paet and Clinton also discussed goals related to supporting European Union Eastern Partnership states. “Estonia and the USA have similar goals in their communication with Eastern Partnership countries. It is essential to make progress with resolving frozen conflicts, but also with Euro-integration in the Balkans and tying Turkey more closely with Europe,” said Paet. “Estonia is establishing a training center in Tallinn in order to help improve the administrative capabilities of the Eastern Partnership countries,” he added. Moreover, Paet stated that Estonia feels it is very important to improve European Union-NATO co-operation.
Other topics addressed at the meeting were security and arms control co-operation with the United States. “We support the USA’s step to reach an agreement with Russia on the regulation of armaments, and we feel it is important for it to happen with the participation of all NATO partners,” said Paet.