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Paet and Burns Confirmed Close Security Co-operation Between Estonia and USA


No 137-E

During their meeting in Tallinn today Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and Deputy Secretary of State of the USA William Burns, who is in Estonia for a visit, spoke about the close co-operation between Estonia and the USA in international security co-operation, development co-operation, and the cyber sector.

Foreign Minister Paet stated that the NATO summit in Chicago must give a clear message that the alliance is capable of reacting to the complicated economic situation and remaining the strongest military alliance. “We call on all allies not to reduce their defence spending and to fulfil their responsibilities so that NATO will be capable of fulfilling its responsibilities in the future and can preserve its deterrent capability,” he added. Paet noted that during the upcoming NATO summit it is also necessary to give a strong and positive message to the countries that would like to join NATO in the future—Georgia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Foreign Minister Paet thanked his US colleague for his support for the decision to continue the NATO air policing mission long-term and also for the USA’s regular contribution to air policing rotations. “Air policing is a good example of allies’ solidarity and contributions to ensuring security,” said Paet. “The air policing mission over the Baltic states is also one of the best examples of the ‘smart defence’ principle,” he added.

Paet and Burns also addressed recent developments in Afghanistan.

In talking about internet freedom and security, Foreign Minister Paet noted that cyber topics must increasingly be addressed from the viewpoint of basic freedoms and human rights. “The decisive events that took place in North Africa last spring demonstrated the role that information technology can play in advancing democracy and human rights. Supporting freedom of expression on the internet is just as important as all other activities for protecting and advancing human rights,” Paet added. “As a candidate to be a member of the UN Human Rights Council from 2013-2015, one of Estonia’s priority topics is internet freedom,” he added.

Foreign Minister Paet expressed hope that through Estonia-USA co-operation a greater contribution can be made to developing cyber defence and cyber security in the international arena.

Paet and Burns also addressed the activities of the new working group for supporting the development of new democracies (Network for Leaders Engaged in New Democracies – LEND), which is co-chaired by Estonia and the United States. Paet said that this is an additional opportunity to support the modernisation and democratisation of transitioning countries using information technology solutions.

Paet expressed satisfaction over the fact that Estonia-USA co-operation has intensified. “A joint project in Belarus to educate civil society in e-governance and cyber security has successfully been launched, as has a project to promote business studies and entrepreneurship among young people in Moldova,” said Foreign Minister Paet. “We also greatly appreciate the USA’s support for the work of Estonia’s Centre of Eastern Partnership. We welcome the United States to join the project to establish an e-governance system in Tunisia,” he added.

Photos from the meeting:

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