NATO case taken on the road

  • 2002-03-28
  • Aleksei Gunter

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell assured Estonian Foreign Affairs Minister Kristiina Ojuland during a visit to Washington last week that the United States strongly supported the national security goals of the Baltic countries

Powell and Ojuland discussed bilateral cooperation, the fight against terrorism and NATO enlargement.

Estonia is now focused on its NATO Membership Action Plan, the homework for NATO candidate countries, said Ojuland.

She told Powell that the Estonians continued to support NATO membership.

Powell said that U.S. President George W. Bush was backing an extensive enlargement of the alliance.

Ojuland, who was on a three-day visit to the United States, told Powell that Estonia had done what it could to help in the war on terrorism.

"Estonia supports the operations of the anti-terrorist coalition and has applied its recommendations on how to detect terrorist organizations' and stop funding," said Ojuland.

Estonia has also taken part in operation Enduring Freedom, a move which has also shown Estonia's loyalty to NATO, Powell said.

Ojuland also met with Stephen Hadley, Bush's national security adviser, and members of the U.S. Senate's NATO Committee.

Prime Minister Siim Kallas also took Estonia's case for NATO membership on the road this week. He spoke to a gathering of top officials from candidate countries on March 26 in Bucharest.

Kallas stressed that the NATO enlargement process does not end with the summit this fall in Prague, but only begins.

The invitation to join the alliance would be followed by another round of talks that would be even longer and more difficult than before.

"Estonia is ready for that," he said.