|Estonia Ready for the Summit in Prague |
Estonia Ready for the Summit in Prague
Remarks by H.E. Jüri Luik, Minister of Defence of Estonia At the EAPC Defence Ministers Meeting. Brussels, December 19, 2001.
Secretary General, dear colleagues,
Estonia has rendered its full support to the international coalition against terrorism - on September 11th it was also Estonia, which was under attack. Everything we hold dear - democracy, individual liberties, market economy - were assaulted. We have taken and will continue to take any necessary steps to aid the US and allies in bringing mass murderers to justice and destroying terrorist networks. We have aligned ourselves with the EU Plan of Action to combat terrorism. Estonian population has supported the war on terror - an example of that is a rise in NATO's popularity after the horrendous events in New York and Washington.
Concerning Afghanistan, the presence of international peace-keeping forces is an essential element in hindering fighting between different factions and, by keeping main roads and airports open and safe, ensuring delivery of international aid to the needy and miserable.
War against terrorism has considerably improved US-Russian and NATO-Russia relations. The last remnants of lingering Cold War mentality seem to be vanishing. This is important and welcoming movement. Looking at the list of potential areas where the setting of 20 might be used, it is clear that problems like terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction are to be tackled together with the Russian Federation.
Lastly, some words on the outgoing year that in Estonia saw the completion of the Force Structure Review. Our guiding principle in that process and in Membership Action Plan has been realism. We are taking concrete and affordable steps to be ready for the Summit in Prague. Through the implementation of the Review, the capabilities of Estonian Defence Forces, both for self-defence and possible future Art. 5. deployment, will improve radically. Concentrating on capabilities is key here - since the enemy is unpredictable and often hard to identify. The destruction of Al Qaeda will not end terror in the world and we have to be ready to defend ourselves and our values.
Thank you for your attention