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Foreign Minister Paet in Washington: Europe’s Security is Reinforced by Europe-USA Co-operation

20.01.2011

No. 17-E

In Washington at a meeting with Republican chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that the natural and multi-faceted co-operation between Europe and the USA is essential for ensuring the security of Europe. “Co-operation between Europe and the USA is also a decisive factor in ensuring security in Afghanistan,” said Paet. “The USA’s visibility through training exercises carried out in Europe or visits by naval ships plays an important role,” he added.

Foreign Minister Paet stated that it is also very important for European nations to not reduce defence spending. “Estonia is striving to allocate 2% of its GDP for defence spending in 2012,” said Paet.

Chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Ros-Lehtinen recognised Estonia’s activities as an ally in NATO and thanked Estonia for its contribution in Afghanistan. Ros-Lehtinen also said that Estonia’s development since the restoration of its independence has been impressive. Foreign Minister Paet invited Ros-Lehtinen and other members of Congress to Estonia on 20 August to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Estonia’s restored independence.

While talking about supporting new democracies in Europe and about Eastern Partnership as one of Estonia’s foreign policy priorities in the EU, Foreign Minister Paet emphasised that Eastern Partners must be presented with sufficient demands but also given aid in carrying our necessary reforms. “The support of the United States is undoubtedly important to our Eastern Partners. In addition, the goals of Eastern Partnership are stability, the establishment of democratic values, economic development and energy security, which are also very important to the USA,” said Paet.

During the meeting, Paet thanked the United States for its support for the Baltic states’ energy security and for participating in the policing of Baltic airspace.

Foreign Minister Paet’s visit to the United States continues today. He will have a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and a panel discussion on Estonia’s accession to the euro zone will also be taking place.

Photos from the meeting: http://www.flickr.com/photos/estonian-foreign-ministry

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