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President Kaljulaid at NATO: We must not lower our ambitions in regard to security

President Kaljulaid at NATO: We must not lower our ambitions in regard to security

08.10.2020

President Kersti Kaljulaid met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels last night to discuss the international security situation and the challenges the organisation is likely to face in the coming decade. The head of state stressed that NATO’s strength lies in its members’ ability and desire to understand one another’s views and situations.

“I’ve no doubt people in Estonia most closely associate NATO with the noise coming out of Ämari air base and the soldiers and their equipment stationed in Tapa,” President Kaljulaid remarked after the meeting. “They’re important not just to Estonia, but to the organisation as a whole. Indeed, NATO is all around us, the full 360 degrees. We can’t afford to lower our ambitions when it comes to security, and to that end all of the organisation’s member states need to openly and honestly share their concerns with their allies and listen to and try to understand one another. That’s the only way we can expect our allies to appreciate the concerns we have and the threats we face up in the north-eastern corner of the organisation. We have one NATO – the same united organisation whether it’s based in ports on the Mediterranean or in hangars in Ämari.”

Discussion during the meeting also focussed on conflict and instability in countries close to NATO’s borders. “We’re keeping an anxious eye on the escalating conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and on developments in Belarus,” the head of state explained. “NATO’s collective and very clear position is that the people of Belarus must have the right to determine their own path in free and fair elections.”

During the meeting, President Kaljulaid also presented Secretary General Stoltenberg with the state decoration he was awarded last year: the Cross of Terra Mariana, 1st class.

After the meeting, Estonia made a digital mark in the annals of NATO history, with the head of state and secretary general giving the organisation’s first ever virtual, two-way press conference.

The President of the Republic is on a three-day working visit. Today she will be meeting in Luxembourg with Prime Minister Xavier Bettel before continuing her visit tomorrow in Paris.

Photos: Office of the President of the Republic

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