|Updated: 17-Nov-2008||IMS News Release|
14 Nov. 2008
Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee visits Estonia
TALLINN, Estonia 13-14 November-- Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, paid an official visit to Estonia by invitation of the Estonian Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General Ants Laaneots.
This visit followed the Informal High-Level NATO-Ukraine consultations in the Estonian Capital Tallinn on 12-13 November, where Defence Ministers and other senior officials from Ukraine and NATO countries, discussed in depth NATO-Ukraine relations in an evolving security environment.
During his visit, Admiral Di Paola had several meetings with high-level Estonian defence leaders. General Laaneots briefed him on the current situation of the Estonian Armed Forces, their evolution, their contribution to operations, and their capability to face new challenges. The increasing importance of the newly created Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence was also underlined. Estonia took the initiative in opening this Centre of Excellence, signing a memorandum of agreement with NATO earlier this year, to the benefit of all NATO member nations.
“Estonia is one of the strongest contributors to Afghanistan,” said Admiral Di Paola, “I must congratulate the Estonian Armed Forces for the quality of their personnel and their outstanding contribution to the Alliance for their missions in Afghanistan and in Kosovo.”
To mark the strong link between NATO and Estonia, the Chairman was invited to plant a tree in the park in front of the Estonian Defence Forces HQ.
On 14th November the Chairman visited the Estonian Military Academy and the Baltic Defence College in Tartu, where he was able to appreciate the validity of the educational and training programmes at all levels, developed in a multinational perspective. Admiral Di Paola also took the opportunity to exchange questions and answers with the students of the Higher Command Studies Course (HCSC).
Later that afternoon the Chairman called on the President of the Republic of Estonia, Mr. Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the Ministry of Defence, Mr. Jaak Aaviksoo and the Chief of National Defence Committee, Mr. Mati Raidma. They all underlined Estonia’s strong commitment to NATO. Admiral Di Paola reaffirmed NATO’s readiness and capability to provide meaningful security guarantees to all members, to include Estonia.
A short visit to the Occupations Museum was also part of the program. This museum was opened in 2003, and its permanent exposition reflects developments in Estonia from 1940 to 1991.
“This has been a great opportunity for me to appreciate the professionalism of the Estonian Armed Forces and to exchange opinions on military issues of common interest to Estonia and NATO,” said Admiral Di Paola in concluding his visit.