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Czech Republic is Important Contributor to Security of Estonian Airspace


No. 31-E

At his meeting in Prague today with Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that the NATO countries reaching an agreement on continuing the policing of the airspace of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is extremely important to Estonia. “From now on, protecting the airspace of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is a long-term mission with no end date. The solution is one of the best examples of NATO’s effectiveness in implementing the concept of smart defence,” he said. The foreign minister added that Estonia highly values the Czech Republic’s contribution to guarding Estonia’s airspace. “The Czech Republic last participated in the NATO air policing mission in 2009, and in the second half of this year the Czech Republic will be guarding our airspace again,” Paet said.

The foreign ministers also spoke about the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago. Taking into account the fact that many countries have cut their defence spending, Paet says that at the springtime NATO summit dedication to collective defence must be affirmed. “Other important topics for Estonia at the summit are cyber security and strengthening cyber defence, and the continuation of NATO’s open-door policy,” said Paet. “At the summit we must also send a clear signal to Afghanistan about continuing support even after the year 2014,” he added.

Paet invited the Czech Republic to join the NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn. In regards to bilateral relations, Foreign Minister Paet noted that co-operation between Estonia and the Czech Republic in visa work will start soon. “The Czech Republic will start to represent Estonia for the issuing of visas in Iraq, Malaysia, and Mongolia,” said Paet. Another topic addressed at the meeting was supporting each other’s candidacies in international organisations. Paet and Schwarzenberg also discussed further EU enlargement, energy security, and matters related to EU-Russia relations.

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