Today at a meeting on the island of Saaremaa in Estonia, the ministers of defence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania agreed on the contents of the Baltic cross-border defence cooperation agreement, which when entered into force will allow the three countries to move their forces and equipment rapidly from one Baltic State to another.
According to Minister of Defence Kalle Laanet, the past few months have further deepened unity among the three Baltic States, as evidenced by the in-depth discussions on defence cooperation held in Saaremaa.
“Today, as a very important step forward, we agreed on the approval of a Baltic cross-border defence cooperation agreement, which we decided to draft at the last meeting of the three Baltic defence ministers last December in Kaunas,” said minister Laanet.
When the agreement enters into force, it will allow moving forces and equipment over borders in peacetime, crisis or war very rapidly for any possible operations or missions.
“This decision has very high practical value and it is a strong deterrent to any possible adversaries, since it sends the message that Baltic States will react to any threats in a unified and rapid manner,” added Laanet.
The ministers of defence also discussed mutual development of multiple launch rocket systems capabilities in cooperation with the US, as well as the future vision of Baltic maritime forces, the security situation in the region, the war in Ukraine, as well as the upcoming NATO summit in Madrid.
“Ahead of the Madrid Summit, we would like to emphasise that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania share a common understanding on the long-term defence strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank. We have to shift gears from a deterrence posture to a defensive one and the presence of NATO forces in the Baltic region is an inseparable part of that shift,” said Laanet.
The Baltic defence ministers also discussed developing common maritime surveillance capabilities, airspace use for exercises, and further developing the Baltic Defence College.
Ministers Laanet, Pabriks and Anušauskas also visited the Defence League unit in Kuressaare, the shipbuilding company Baltic Workboats, and signed a joint communiqué (233.06 KB, PDF) on the shore of Lake Kaali.
Photos: Kaitseministeerium | Flickr
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