Estonia, UK strengthen defense ties

  • 2013-12-03
  • From wire reports, TALLINN

 Estonian defence minister Urmas Reinsalu and British defence minister Philip Hammond signed on Monday, Dec. 2 in Tallinn an agreement on common intentions that prescribes strengthening the defence cooperation between the two states, Public Broadcasting reports.

The states set an aim of increasing the influence of their defence and security policy, by cooperating in designing political positions and expressing the positions in international organisations; they also wish to increase effectiveness of both states defence forces and develop the ability to carry out joint military operations.

The British defence minister stressed, when talking about the future of NATO, that the most important thing is to convince Americans that Europe wants and can defend itself and that has to take place together with Americans.

"The main message of the NATO summit next year is that the U.S.- Europe cooperation has to get into full gear again. The at times sceptical American public has to be convinced that Europeans want to defend themselves, that we are committed to keeping our yard free," said Hammond.

He said that the change of policy in Ukraine is a big disappointment in this light.

The British and Estonian defence ministers will discuss the Ukrainian events on Tuesday in Helsinki where the Nordic Group defence ministers' meeting takes place.

The agreement on common intentions in defence cooperation that was in force so far was concluded between UK and Estonia in 1994.