Ladies and gentlemen,
This morning I was in Paldiski, where I saw off our latest mission to Lebanon – troops who will be serving in UNIFIL to maintain peace alongside fellow soldiers from Ireland and Finland in IRISHFINBAT. As I was leaving, I stood before the monument there and read every name listed on it. This is something I do every time I find myself in Paldiski. I read all of the names and reflect on their sad stories.
We are used to thinking about national defence in terms of armour, ammunition and men in uniform. But we also have reserve forces, and national defence therefore stems from the values of our citizens and their willingness to defend their country; a willingness to protect what is theirs and to value being who they are. Estonia's approach is based on a conviction that security is created in order to protect human rights, basic freedoms and core human values. These values determine what our lives are like, and they are something that Estonia stands up for in a broader sense. A country can only be defended if its citizens wish as one people to defend it. Such a wish is borne of understanding – an understanding of what it means to belong and be involved. Anyone who has performed military or reserve service values that experience much more highly than those who have never come into contact with it.
President Kersti Kaljulaid met last night in Kadriorg with Paul Ryan, current Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. At the meeting, the Head of State emphasised the importance of Trans-Atlantic co-operation and thanked the US representatives for their considerable contribution to ensuring the security of the Western World.
Tonight, President Kersti Kaljulaid met in Kadriorg with Zhang Gaoli, the Deputy Prime Minister of the People's Republic of China. Economic relations between the two countries and co-operation between China and the European Union were discussed at the meeting.
The chemical weapons attack carried out by the Assad regime against its own people three days ago was a monstrous crime with no justification whatsoever. The international agreement of 2013 according to which Syria agreed to give up control over its chemical weapons has amounted to nothing more than hot air.