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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet Discussed Baltic Air Policing and Afghanistan Mission With NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe


No 331-E

At his meeting in Tallinn today with NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe Admiral James Stavridis, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet emphasised the importance of the NATO air policing mission for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and thanked Stavridis for helping to achieve the indefinite continuation of the mission. “The air policing mission ensures the safety of the airspace of NATO and the Baltic states and also increases NATO’s visibility in the region,” said Paet.

Paet and Stavridis talked about the possible military contribution of the allied forces in Afghanistan after the year 2014. The foreign minister stated that it is essential to ensure the training and sustainability of the Afghan security forces. “It is also very important that the Afghan government adheres to the promises it has made regarding the development of the country’s security forces,” Paet added.

On the topic of defence spending, Foreign Minister Paet noted that considering the fact that outside of NATO military investments are growing rapidly, NATO cannot allow for its defence spending to decrease. “It is all of our responsibility to aim for equivalent contributions. This is necessary in order for NATO to preserve its position and for us to be able to react to threats on the alliance’s territory and beyond,” he emphasised.

Paet and Stavridis also discussed cyber security and NATO’s role in ensuring cyber security. Foreign Minister Paet emphasised the importance of integrating cyber security into NATO’s structures and everyday activities. “Cyber defence and security must be a political focus, not just a technical one,” he added.

In talking about NATO collective defence, Paet highlighted the training exercise Steadfast Jazz 2013, which is essential for developing the defence and co-operative abilities of Estonia, the Baltic sea region, and the entire alliance. “The greater visibility of NATO in the Baltic Sea region helps to strengthen the security of the entire alliance,” Paet added.

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