Updated: 25-Nov-2002 NATO Speeches


21 November


by Mr. Siim Kallas, Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia,
at the NAC meeting with Invitees


For many of us, today is one of the most remarkable days in the current history of the world. At the beginning of the nineties, we, Estonians, were living in the exciting atmosphere of our regained independence. But even at that time, when everything seemed attainable and nothing seemed impossible, few of us could truly believe in the prospect of NATO membership.

But fortunately some did, and events have developed faster than could ever have been predicted, and our wildest dreams from those days are beginning to come true - Estonia, along with Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia, has been invited to join NATO.

Excellencies, we truly appreciate this historical decision concerning the enlargement of the Alliance that the leaders of the NATO nations made today.

I would like to thank the NATO leaders for this historic decision and a recognition of our efforts and for your support and cooperation on this way. I would also like to thank the leaders of other candidate countries for the mutual and continuous solidarity and co-operation, which has existed between our countries. This spirit of co-operation, among all of us around this table is an asset, which we are taking with us into NATO.

At the same time, I would like to reiterate -- we consider this invitation as a serious indication of trust, and we fully understand the obligations we are accepting in this context. We know, that this will entail the allocation of all necessary resources - both human and financial - for this purpose.

The perspective of NATO membership means, for us, not only increased security, but also the increased necessity of sharing in the responsibility of addressing the threats that could come from or occur far away from Estonia. We believe that every country, no matter what its size or economic resources, can contribute substantially to the fight against contemporary threats to international security. And Estonia is committed to continuing the ongoing reforms to its national defence system. We are ready to further develop and improve our military capabilities in the years to come.

The name of the game is clear - collective security and defence means collective responsibility and burden sharing. No one should become a millstone for the others. We, Estonians, know this. We intend to deliver!


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