Secretary General tells Estonia NATO is firmly committed to collective defence
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed the new Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas in his first visit to NATO Headquarters and stressed the firm commitment of the Alliance to collective defense. “As we face the most serious security crisis in a generation, we are determined to keep NATO robust, ready and agile. Estonia, like every NATO member, can count on Allied solidarity at all times and against any threat”, the Secretary General said.
Speaking about the measures taken by NATO in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen underlined that NATO has more than doubled the number of fighter aircraft allocated to the Alliance’s air policing mission in the Baltic States.
“And we will make sure we have updated military plans, enhanced exercises and appropriate deployments”, he said.
The Secretary General also praised Estonia’s commitment to the Alliance. “It is now ten years since Estonia joined our Alliance. Throughout, Estonia has made NATO stronger, and NATO has made Estonia stronger”, the Secretary General said. ”Over the years, brave and professional Estonian troops have made a substantial contribution to our challenging mission in Afghanistan. Estonia has learnt tough lessons on cyber defence, and is now making a significant contribution to strengthen the Alliance efforts in this vital domain.”
The Secretary General said that Estonia is leading by example when it comes to investing the right amount of resources in the right defence capabilities.
“Despite the economic crisis, you are spending 2 percent of your gross domestic product on defence. This shows your commitment to collective defence. And it shows that if Estonia can do it, other Allies can do it too”, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said.
Responding to journalists’ questions on claims by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that NATO was not respecting its bilateral agreements with Russia, the NATO Secretary General said “no, of course we haven’t violated the Rome Declaration and I’m actually surprised that Russia can claim that NATO has violated its commitments, because Russia is violating every principle and international commitment it has made. First and foremost the commitment not to invade other countries. Russia has undermined all the principles of our relationship and therefore there can no longer be business as usual and to make it clear NATO’s core task is to defend our allies and this is what we are doing”.