‘’All for one, one for all’’ : NATO Secretary General stresses solidarity in Estonia
The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg started a trip to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania with a visit to Estonia’s Ämari Airbase on Thursday (20 November 2014), where he stressed Alliance solidarity. “NATO’s greatest responsibility is to protect and defend our Allies. And NATO is here to protect and defend Estonia,” he said. On his way, Mr Stoltenberg's plane was escorted by two Dutch fighter jets based in Poland as part of NATO's air policing mission, while at Amari, he met with US, German and Estonian troops. He made clear the presence of jets and troops from many nations demonstrates “the resolve of all Allies to stand with the Baltic nations. All for one. One for all.”
During their meeting, the Secretary General and Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas discussed security challenges to the East stemming from Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine.
Referring to increase Russian air activity, Mr Stoltenberg said: "our Baltic air police mission has conducted over 100 intercepts this year - three times more than last year. In fact, Russian air activity has increased all over Europe. As a result, NATO jets have been scrambled over 400 times close to NATO airspace - 50 percent more than last year. This pattern is risky and unjustified. So NATO remains vigilant. We are here. And we are ready to defend all Allies against any threat."
Mr Stoltenberg described the Readiness Action Plan agreed at the Wales Summit as “the biggest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War” and stressed that the Alliance is working to implement it in full and on time.
Secretary General Stoltenberg also praised Estonia for spending 2% of its GDP on defence – a key NATO benchmark – despite tough economic circumstances. “Estonia is leading by example,” he said. Calling Estonia “a strong and committed Ally,” Mr Stoltenberg also thanked Estonia for its role in NATO operations, and praised the country’s “leading role in strengthening the Alliance’s cyber defences”.
The Secretary General's agenda also includes a visit to the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, as Estonia holds this week Cyber Coalition 2014, NATO's biggest ever cyber exercise, as well as meetings with President Toomas Henrik Ilves, Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, and Defence Minister Sven Mikser.