Home > Uncategorized > Estonia Offers Air Base To U.S., NATO For Anti-Russian Patrols

Estonia Offers Air Base To U.S., NATO For Anti-Russian Patrols

Estonian Public Broadcasting
February 28, 2013

Paet and Kerry Talk Air Bases, Cyber Defense

NATO Baltic Buildup Threatens Belarus And Russia

In his first meeting with newly-appointed US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet raised a range of bilateral issues from development aid cooperation to defense.

The Rome meeting, in which the foreign ministers of Latvia and Lithuania also took part, was undertaken as part of Kerry’s 11-day tour of Europe and the Middle East – his first junket to the region since taking office on February 1.

During the meeting, Paet expressed Estonia’s desire to continue defense cooperation with the US, both bilaterally and within the framework of NATO. Speaking about NATO’s Baltic air policing mission, Paet suggested that one of its rotations be conducted from Estonia’s Ämari air base starting from 2015, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Since it began in 2004, the mission has been conducted from Lithuania.

Speaking on Afghanistan, Paet said that the goal of handing over security responsibility to local troops by the middle of this year was realistic, as they already conduct 80 percent of the operations. He added that Estonia has decided to increase development aid to Afghanistan and send more civilian experts for police and NATO training.

Paet told his US counterpart that Estonia was interested in continuing cooperation on cyber defense, and suggested that the countries put down their plans for bilateral cooperation on cyber development in a joint declaration.

The Estonian foreign minister also noted the successful joint development cooperation projects that the countries had undertaken in Belarus and Moldova, and suggested that such projects be extended to Central Asia.

Paet invited Kerry to take part in a meeting of the Internet Freedom Coalition – a group devoted to keeping the internet free of government interference – to take place in Tallinn in 2014.

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