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Foreign minister Urmas Paet: Estonia is proposing Ämari as an additional Baltic Air Defence base

02.04.2014

At the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels, foreign minister Urmas Paet welcomed the increase in the number of patrolling aircraft as part of the Baltic Air Policing Mission and thanked the Allies for their additional contribution. “Ämari Air Base is ready to be permanently in use as part of the Baltic Air Policing Mission,“ Paet confirmed.

Following Russia's incursion into the Crimean peninsula, NATO bolstered air policing operations in the Baltic region. At the moment, 10 U.S. fighter jets are guarding Baltic air space instead of the usual four and Great Britain, Denmark, Portugal, France and Germany have said they are ready to provide more planes.

“At the same time we, as an Alliance, should plan for the long-term and permanent presence of Allied troops in our region," Paet announced. In his words, it is important to ensure the stronger and more permanent protection of Estonia and the other Baltic states, not just in response to a crisis.

Paet said the foreign ministers tasked NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe with drawing up a package of military measures in the immediate future to raise the level of deterrence in NATO's border countries.

As a counterbalance to Russia's activity and in order to increase security and stability in Europe, NATO has to strengthen contacts with Ukraine and Georgia. “Estonia supports increasing political and practical cooperation with Ukraine. Of paramount importance are NATO's support for the development of Ukraine's defence sector, conducting joint trainings and opening NATO training programs more broadly to Ukraine,” Paet said.

According to Paet, by annexing the Crimean peninsula, Russia has violated international law and has acted in contradiction with NATO-Russia Founding Act. Paet confirmed that in light of the crisis, the Alliance will suspend all cooperation between NATO and Russia.
The NATO-Russia Founding Act, established in 1997, provides that neither side will use force against each other’s or third countries’ sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence. NATO has repeatedly condemned Russia's military invasion of the Ukraine and the annexation of the Crimean peninsula.


For more information:
Marko Koplimaa
Permanent representation of Estonia to NATO
+ 32 472 95 05 10

 

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