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Hanso: Allies’ heavy equipment could be nearer than 1,000 miles to Estonia

16. May 2016 - 14:04

Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso discussed with the US Assistant Secretary of Defence Robert Scher, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence Michael Carpenter, Commander of the US Army Europe Ben Hodges, who visited Tallinn within the framework of the Lennart Meri Conference, and with other high-ranking security officials the developments of allied relations and the preparations for the NATO Summit in Warsaw.
“Since rapid improvement of the security situation in our region is not expected, then the Warsaw Summit is not the end of the road, but a milestone,” Hanso said. “Further actions to be agreed on as the result of the coming NATO Summit must be credible both politically as well as militarily. NATO’s military advice to the ministers of defence is clear: our region requires more allied forces.“
According to Hanso, NATO must reach a solution which is feasible both politically as well as militarily. The primary task of NATO is to protect allies within the entire alliance, and the United States plays a prominent role in this. It was emphasized at the meeting that NATO’s deterrence is based on conventional defence, missile defence and nuclear deterrence – all of which are essential, and in a changed security situation all of those aspects of deterrence should be kept up-to-date.
“The goal of Estonia is a solution which would work for all the parties. Our wish is to have the allies’ heavy equipment permanently located closer to us than 1,000 miles.  We in turn work with Latvia and Lithuania for the purpose of facilitating the movement of allies’ units and equipment over state borders and of offering good support in the host country.“
Hanso stated that at the meeting he again received confirmation that the United States are ready to help protect Estonia, however, Estonia must continue to develop independent defence capabilities.

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