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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: the U.S. is Europe’s most important partner

14.05.2014

At his meeting today with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that Estonia considers the U.S. presence and visibility in Europe to be vital. “In the changed security situation, it is important to take steps together to increase NATO's deterrence capability,” Paet noted. In early 2014, the U.S. contributed to the air policing operation in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for the fourth time and reinforced the operation with six F-15 fighter jets.

Paet stated that the 150 U.S. troops who arrived in Estonia in late April are an example of contributing to regional security and the commitment of NATO member states to collective defence. “The U.S. presence will greatly increase NATO deterrence in the Baltic Sea region,” Paet said.

On the subject of the developments in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Paet said that Russia has the power to stop the destabilizing activities in Ukraine. “The so-called referendums in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions were illegal provocations to increase instability and deepen the conflict in Ukraine,” he added.

According to the Estonian Foreign Minister, in order for Ukraine to emerge from the crisis, implement further reforms and build a state based on the rule of law, it is essential that the presidential elections set for May 25 be free, democratic and transparent. “Ukrainians must have the opportunity to decide their own future in a peaceful manner,” Foreign Minister Paet said.

Estonia is sending two long-term and six short-term observers to various regions in Ukraine to observe the presidential elections as part of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) observation mission. In addition, an OSCE special mission will be in Ukraine until September to contribute to peace and stability in the region where four experts from Estonia are currently participating. Estonia has supported the special mission with a voluntary contribution of 20 000 euros and another donation in the same amount is planned.

Paet confirmed that Estonia greatly values cooperation with the United States in promoting democracy in the world and in the European Union's Eastern Partnership projects in Georgia, Moldova and Belarus. “Together we have supported the development of e-services, business training and social development in these countries,” Foreign Minister Paet said. “The Leaders Engaged in New Democracies (LEND) project, initiated by Estonian and U.S. Foreign Ministers in 2012 and aimed at advising the leaders of new democracies is also progressing.”

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/estonian-foreign-ministry/sets/72157644697...


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