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Estonia places importance on strengthening ties with NATO's partners

19.04.2012

At the meeting of NATO's Foreign Ministers in Brussels last night, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that meetings with NATO's partner states – Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia – at the Chicago summit in May are important for Estonia. “The expansion of NATO has been a success story so far and it has increased the security of Europe. Estonia supports the continuation of the open door policy,” Paet noted. “The Chicago summit should send a clear message about the progress in relations with candidate states – recognising their development and encouraging them to press on with reforms,” he added.

Regarding the alliance's partnership with the Middle East and North Africa, Paet noted that NATO's activities in supporting the transition processes in the Middle East and North Africa have supplemented the work of other international organisations. “NATO's contribution in the region must be aimed at specific areas where it has additional value. It is important to work together with other organisations in the areas of economy and civil society and solve the security problems of the region,” he added.

According to Paet, the Arab Spring, common operations in Libya and rising tensions in the Middle East have brought Persian Gulf states like the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait closer to actual co-operation with NATO. “In addition to military co-operation and energy and naval security, we also see cyber security as a strategic area of co-operation,” Foreign Minister of Estonia said.

According to the Foreign Minister of Estonia, the Chicago summit should aim to strengthen relations with NATO's main partners. “In addition to recognising those states that make a contribution to NATO by participating in NATO operations, contributing financially or offering political support, we should also discuss the reinforcement of practical co-operation in the future,” he added.

On the sidelines of the meeting of NATO's Foreign Ministers that continues in Brussels today, the NATO-Russia Council will also meet on the level of foreign ministers; the meeting of the foreign ministers of the participant states of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will also take place.


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