Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Kristjan Prikk met yesterday with General Sir Gordon Kenneth Messenger, Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff of the United Kingdom, in order to discuss defence cooperation between the two countries.
According to Permanent Secretary Prikk, defence cooperation between Estonia and the United Kingdom is close and effective.
‘We greatly appreciate Great Britain’s contribution to our region and thereby to the strengthening of NATO’s deterrence,' said Prikk. He added that the goal was to further strengthen our defence posture.
Prikk and Messenger agreed that NATO must continue to improve its reaction and reinforcement capabilities as well as its readiness. In connection with that they also discussed the creation of Multinational Division Headquarters North and the deepening of cyber defence cooperation.
Prikk welcomed the Joint Expeditionary Force maritime component training exercise set to take place next year in the Baltic Sea region. ‘Estonia’s interest is that future Joint Expeditionary Force training exercises would continue to be associated with Baltic Sea region security challenges,’ said Prikk. ‘Training together ensures an efficient reaction in the event of a crisis,' he added.
During the summer of this year, Minister of Defence Jüri Luik, together with the defence ministers of eight other countries, signed the UK led Joint Expeditionary Force agreement, in London, with which they would be ready to quickly and flexibly contribute to operations in crisis areas.
The goal of the UK led Joint Expeditionary Force is to quickly react, either independently or as part of a larger military unit, in case of a military threat. Estonia is contributing to the Joint Expeditionary Force along with Finland, Sweden, Holland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Denmark.
Ministers of defence for Estonia, Latvia and Denmark signed a cooperation agreement on establishing Multinational Division Headquarters North at this year’s NATO Summit, with Canada, Great Britain and Lithuania signing as contributing countries.
The United Kingdom is participating as a Framework Nation in the NATO battlegroup, with nearly 900 soldiers stationed in Estonia, and British officers are also contributing to the operation of NATO’s Force Integration Unit and NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. Fighter aircraft from the United Kingdom have also participated NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission.
Estonian servicemen have participated with a platoon sized unit in NATO’s Afghanistan operation Resolute Support, within the composition of the British Armed Forces, tasked with ensuring force protection in the Kabul region.
General Messenger also met with General Riho Terras, Commander of the Defence Forces, and visited the armed forces campus at Tapa and the Estonian and allied soldiers stationed there.
Further information: press[at]kaitseministeerium[dot]ee