Thursday, a delegation of U.S. senators met with the Minister of Defence Jüri Luik to receive an overview of the security situation and discuss the matters of defence cooperation.
The delegation, which included members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, the Select Committee on Intelligence as well as the Committee on the Budget led by Sen. Richard Burr noted that the U.S. has supported maintaining of strong transatlantic relations by means of various defence initiatives, a good example of which was the infrastructure recently opened at Ämari Air Base that considerably enhances Estonia's capability to host Allied troops.
According to Minister of Defence Jüri Luik, the U.S. presence in Europe has a strong deterrence effect which ensures peace and stability in Europe. Luik thanked the senators for the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), in the framework of which the defence capability of Allies, including Estonia, has been supported with the construction of infrastructure as well as military equipment and stressed that Estonia's level of defence spending allows to effectively utilise the U.S. support. The Minster of Defence and senators also discussed the very close cooperation between the United States and Estonia in the field of cyber defence.
Initiated in 2014, the European Deterrence Initiative is aimed at strengthening European security by means of increased U.S. presence. A total of over $32 million has been allocated to Estonia for the development of Ämari Air Base and Tapa Army Base in the framework of the EDI.
In addition to Sen Richard Burr (R-N.C.) the delegation included senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.). Estonia and the U.S. share close ties both on the political and the military level. The U.S. troops participate regularly in the exercises conducted in Estonia and in the region. Estonia also has a close relationship with the Maryland National Guard.
More information: press[at]kaitseministeerium[dot]ee