12 June 1998


by Mr. Andrus vel, Minister of Defence of Estonia

Honourable Secretary General, Dear colleagues, Ladies and gentlemen,

Multinational defence related co-operation has demonstrated its valuable role for European security during the last years. The idea of co-operative security grown over the last seven years within the NACC and EAPC, has proved its applicability to today's Europe with the help of PfP. For us it is especially important to emphasis the multinational co-operation since it has been a cornerstone for stabile and balanced security developments in the Baltic Sea region.

This morning witnessed the signing of two Memorandums of Understanding concerning the establishment of the Baltic Defence College and the Baltic Naval Squadron by the Baltic states and supporting countries, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden and United Kingdom. Above mentioned two projects are set for implementing the same political and military goals as the BALTBAT project - promote overall security and stability, contribute to the National Defence Forces and raise military interoperability.

Here, I would like to emphasis also the third document signed today, the Agreement on the establishment of the Baltic Defence College. Education serves as basis for the development, and the signing of these documents in the NATO HQ has a very important symbolic meaning. NATO, extending the stability and peace, has been and is a home of the good intentions. The Baltic military co-operation projects would not have been possible without the encouragement, assistance and advice of support nations, to whom, on behalf of Estonian government, I would like to express our sincerest gratitude.

Full NATO membership stays as a primary goal in Estonia security policy agenda. After the Madrid Summit we have engaged ourselves in practical cooperation using the tools available - we have continued to Intensified Dialogue, participated in tense exercise programme and carried on PARP process. At the beginning of this month Estonia has sent two of her officers to NATO Staffs as PSE's. We welcome the transfer of Interoperability Objectives into Partnership Goals as we consider the overall process getting closer to the Alliance.

The EAPC as an all-comprehending security forum in the Euro-Atlantic area should have even greater role in accelerating the co-operation between the countries. Drawing another example from the Baltic Sea region I would like to mention the recent EAPC meeting in Visby, where all the countries of the region have expressed their readiness to advance the regional PfP activities.

We hope the experience of building up a stable and secure region can be extend to other areas of the Continent as well. Current events in Kosovo remind us that shadows are still shading the success of the new Europe, calling for collective concern and action.

Thank You.

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