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Canadian Foreign and Defence Ministers Say Estonia is Valued Ally in Ensuring Security

05.11.2010

No. 339-E

At their meetings with Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon and Defence Minister Peter MacKay recognised Estonia’s important and visible contribution to building up Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Paet said that both Estonian and Canadian soldiers work to stabilise the security situation in southern Afghanistan. Paet gave Cannon an overview of Estonia’s civil contribution to developing the health care system in Helmand Province. “In its civil aid, Estonia focuses first and foremost on health care, improving the situation of women and children, and establishing good administrative practices,” he added.

Defence Minister McKay stated that Estonia’s soldiers are highly valued allies in ensuring security in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province.

Foreign Minister Paet invited Canada to participate in the Eastern Partnership Training Centre that will be established in Tallinn. “The training centre, which is based on the Estonian School of Diplomacy, will focus on increasing administrative capacity in the public sector of Eastern Partnership states and on sharing reform experiences. The participation of Canada and all of our international partners is welcome,” he stated.

Paet asserted that Estonia-Canada co-operation has been successful in the development aid sector as well. “For example, in co-operation with Canada we have shared economic policy experiences with Ukrainian state officials and helped to alleviate the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti,” said Paet. “We would like to continue development co-operation with Canada in the future,” he added.

Paet noted that Estonia would also like to intensify relations with Canada by expanding its network of honorary consuls. “Estonia just opened an honorary consulate in Halifax, and starting today a new honorary consul in Canada will begin working in Quebec,” he stated.

Paet and Cannon also discussed developments in the Arctic. Paet said that Estonia would like for the role of the European Union in Arctic issues to increase and that the EU should gain observer status in the Arctic Council. “Because the Arctic is so vulnerable, all of us co-operating is inevitable and would be beneficial for the environmental, economic and security sectors,” said Paet.

At his meeting with Canadian Minister of Defence Peter McKay, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that Canada is welcome to participate in the work of the NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Estonia. “Cyber crime does not recognise borders, which is why international co-operation is extremely important for ensuring cyber security,” Paet emphasised.

Paet and McKay also addressed co-operation in NATO, including NATO’s new Strategic Concept, matters related to the Afghanistan mission, and Estonia-Canada bilateral defence co-operation.

Canada was the first NATO member state to ratify Estonia’s NATO accession protocol.

Photos from the meetings with the Canadian foreign minister and defence minister: http://www.flickr.com/photos/estonian-foreign-ministry

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