Joint press briefing

by NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the Prime Minister of Estonia, Mr. Andrus Ansip

  • 18 May. 2011
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  • Mis à jour le: 25 May. 2011 18:15

Joint Press Point with NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen Left to right: Andrus Ansip (Prime Minister of Estonia) with NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Oana Lungescu (NATO Spokesperson): The Secretary General and the Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip will make two short statements. Secretary General.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Secretary General of NATO): Good morning. First of all, I have welcomed the Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip to NATO Headquarters and congratulated him on his re-election as Prime Minister of Estonia. We have cooperated for many years and I look very much forward to continuing that cooperation.

I have also taken the opportunity to express my appreciation of Estonia's contribution to NATO operations - a full infantry company to the Helmand province in Afghanistan. And I also appreciate your support for key initiatives such as the Afghan National Army Trust Fund, and I welcome your political support for our Libya mission.

Estonia is committed to modern defence. Estonia has kept up its contributions to NATO operations, despite very difficult economic circumstances and we welcome your determination to reach the NATO goal of defence spending, despite the economic challenges.

Difficult economic times make defence consultation more important than ever. NATO nations need smart defence. They need to talk and plan together to make sure they keep capabilities which they would not be able to afford alone. And Estonia's coordination of defence policies with Allies and partners in the Baltic and Nordic region is an excellent example of how smart defence can work. Initiatives such as the Baltic Defence College and the invitation to the Baltic states to join the Nordic Defence Cooperation show how this can work in practice.

Estonia is also a good example of the need to tackle emerging security threats. We won't forget the massive cyber attacks which Estonia suffered in 2007. And Estonia is now sharing that experience with other Allies through the Centre of Excellence for Cyber Defence in Tallinn. And this is exactly the kind of knowledge-sharing which can benefit all Allies from the smallest to the largest.

So across the board Estonia has shown a good example. Estonia is a staunch Ally. We appreciate very much your commitment to our Alliance and look forward to continuing our excellent cooperation.

Andrus Ansip (Prime Minister of Estonia): Thank you very, very much, Anders, for your kind words.

I would like to use this opportunity to thank all our NATO partners providing security also in our region. Air policing cooperation is important for all Estonian people. Air policing is visible evidence talking about NATO presence to every Estonian people and it's really important for our country.

Estonia is also taking part in different military missions, together with our NATO partners, and here I would like to say that Estonia is committed to stay in Afghanistan until it will be needed, and until we will be welcomed in Afghanistan.

Our soldiers, they're serving in Afghanistan without heavy caveats and for the Estonian people it's really clear that we got huge support from different countries when this help was really needed for Estonia and now when we are able to help others it's our moral duty to do that. So we will stay in Afghanistan until it will be needed and until we will be welcomed in Afghanistan.

And, of course, we would like to reach this two percentage level of defence expenditures next year from our GDP. We promised to reach; everybody has to keep its promises and it's really important for Estonia to reach this two percentage level next year.

In Estonia it's clear for us that defence, it's not a luxury we can pay attention only during the really good years. We have to take care about defence issues even when times that they are not so good once. But happily in Estonia we can say that the crisis is behind us already. Thank you very much.

Oana Lungescu: Thank you very much. This concludes this press point.