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

28.03.2012

No. 78-E

At his meeting in Washington yesterday with Secretary of State of the United States Hillary Clinton, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet expressed satisfaction that in addition to Estonia and the USA’s shared understanding regarding ensuring European security and co-operation in Afghanistan as well as defence co-operation in general, we also share concrete ongoing projects in the development co-operation and cyber security sectors.

Clinton and Paet stated that it is essential to continue contributing to trans-Atlantic security. Secretary of State Clinton said that the USA takes its responsibilities to NATO very seriously, particularly the Article 5 obligation for collective defence. The Estonian foreign minister said it is important that at the upcoming NATO summit a strong, positive message is given to countries that want to get NATO membership in the foreseeable future, namely Georgia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During their meeting in Washington, Clinton and Paet announced that together the USA and Estonia will co-chair a new working group that will support the development of new democracies (Leaders Engaged in New Democracies – LEND). Paet said that the USA proposed to Estonia that they direct this new initiative together because Estonia’s activities in supporting new democracies are visible and effective.

Secretary of State Clinton said at the meeting that over the last 20 years Estonia has grown from a newly independent democracy to an important and respected voice in the international community. Clinton stated that the USA looks to Estonia as an important ally.

At their meeting, Paet and Clinton also spoke about developments in Afghanistan and the NATO summit taking place in Chicago in May. The foreign ministers agreed that at the current moment it’s very important that NATO allies and partners come to Chicago with concrete commitments to support Afghan security forces and economic development beyond 2014. “Estonia is prepared to support Afghanistan’s development with development co-operation and humanitarian aid when responsibility for security has been placed in the hands of the Afghan authorities for good,” said Paet. 

At their meeting the foreign ministers also spoke about the implementation of NATO’s “smart defence” principle, which helps the organisation respond to changing priorities and reduced defence spending. “A good example of smart defence is the air policing mission over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and we’re very grateful to the USA for its support,” said the Estonian foreign minister.

Paet said that Estonia has also started joint development co-operation projects with the USA. “For example Tunisia, which has lived through the events of the Arab Spring, is interested in Estonia’s e-state experiences, and in co-operation with the USA we are prepared to share these experiences,” he added.

During their meeting Paet and Clinton also spoke about the situations in Russia, Syria, Iran, and Belarus.

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

View the transcript of Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s press conference in Washington:
http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2012/03/187004.htm

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