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Foreign Minister Paet Met With Secretary of State of the USA Hillary Clinton

21.01.2011

No. 20-E
21 January 2011

At his meeting with Secretary of State of the United States of America Hillary Clinton in Washington, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that Estonia highly values bilateral Estonia-USA co-operation, for example joint military trainings, co-operation in the cyber sector, increasing energy security, serving together in Afghanistan, and the USA’s participation in Baltic air policing.

Secretary of State Clinton said she is grateful that Estonia is a dependable, creative and close ally of the United States. “In the 20 years since Estonia’s independence, the country has become a successful model for others, with its internet voting, cyber innovations, commitment to good governance, the rule of law, and fiscal responsibility,” said Secretary of State Clinton.

Paet gave an overview of his recent visit to Afghanistan. He stated that Estonia will continue its military and civil contribution on at least the same level and without limits until the security situation in the country is such that the international mission can begin to depart. “It is important to reach a situation in which Afghanistan can manage on its own and does not pose a threat to other nations. We highly value the co-operation between Estonian and American soldiers and the implementation of joint development co-operation projects,” said Paet. Secretary of State Clinton thanked Estonia for its co-operation in building up the state and helping the people in Afghanistan. Clinton highlighted Estonia’s contributions to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and to development co-operation and development aid.

Foreign Minister Paet and Secretary of State Clinton also spoke about new opportunities for co-operation in Afghanistan. “In Helmand this could take the form of increasing the accessibility of health care for women,” said Paet. He added that Estonia’s priority is projects that advance the situation of women. “In general we feel it is important to include the gender aspect in international peace and security activities,” he added.

In talking about NATO, Clinton thanked Estonia for successfully organising the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in April of last year. Foreign Minister Paet stated that it’s positive that the USA is joining the NATO Cyber Defence Centre in Tallinn. “Cyber security must become a vital topic for NATO—on that receives attention on a daily basis and on the cyber security planning level,” Paet said at the meeting.

Clinton stated that Estonia’s activities in supporting Europe’s new democracies is important, including the opening of the European Union Eastern Partnership Training Centre in Tallinn next week.

Paet and Clinton also discussed the situation in Belarus. The Estonian foreign minister emphasised that it is necessary to re-institute sanctions against Belarus, but these should not restrict the country’s civil society. “Civil society and other democratic forces in Belarus should be supported more than before. People-to-people contacts, youth exchange, and research and cultural contacts should be developed, and opportunities for university students to study in European institutes of higher education should be expanded,” said Paet. Clinton recognised Estonia for its decision to continue supporting civil society in Belarus and providing educational opportunities.

Today the foreign minister will meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York.

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

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