12 June 1998

Press Release - BALTRON

Signing ceremony of the BALTRON supporting MOU
at Brussels 12th June 1998

Defence ministers from Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom have met in Brussels today to sign a Memorandum of Understanding which gives the necessary political framework for the support of, a project between the three Baltic States concerning the Baltic Naval Squadron, ("BALTRON").

The Baltic Naval Squadron, a combined naval force with units from each of the three Baltic States, which provides as its primary role mine counter measures capabilities, is already on a good track. The combined staff of BALTRON was recently established in TALLINN, Estonia and an official inauguration ceremony for BALTRON is foreseen in August this year. The first training opportunity for this trinational naval force will be the participation in the exercise OPEN SPIRIT, a mine counter measures exercise "in the spirit of PfP" led by Germany, in September this year.

The supporting states and the three Baltic States are looking for solutions to develop the military capacity of the Baltic States, which ask for co-operation rather than for competition between the three Baltic States and give a good chance that all three states will gain the maximum benefit out of it.

In October 1996 the defence ministers from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia agreed on establishing a common Baltic Naval Squadron, which will consist of two mine sweeping units from each country. As requested by the defence ministers of the Baltic States Germany took over the co-ordination of all activities to establish BALTRON.

The supporting states will provide assistance for the organisation and the training of BALTRON in the way to maximise interoperability. This rationale, that the three Baltic States should stay together in a close co-operation in the realisation of some common military projects, will allow solutions, a single state would not be capable of.

Integration and co-operation between the three Baltic States, facilitating the integration in the European security framework will lead to regional stability, to the benefit of everyone in the Baltic Region.

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