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Hanso: Readiness of the Czech Republic to contribute to Estonia’s defence is greatly appreciated

2. June 2016 - 10:41

During his visit to Estonia, Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic Martin Stropnicky confirmed that the Czech Republic is ready to participate in the air-policing mission from Ämari Air Base and to send an infantry company to Estonia next year.

According to Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso, the Czech Republic and Estonia are good allies and the two states share a common understanding of the security situation on NATO's borders.

“The readiness of the Visegrad Group to contribute to strengthening our regions security is greatly appreciated," said Hanso. “This is a clear indication of NATO’s solidarity.”

According to Minister of Defence Stropnicky, during its presidency of the Visegrad Group the Czech Republic has proposed supporting our region’s security by sending rotating units to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. At the forthcoming meeting of NATO Defence Ministers, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic will submit their vision, in addition to all of the Alliance’s other methods of deterrence, to send their own unit to the Baltic States.

It would be comprised of 150 men, on three month rotations, with a unit sent by each member of the Visegrad Group, which would practice cooperation with units here, stated Stropnicky. According to him, the Visegrad Group is ready to begin the rotations on 1 January 2017.

In addition to ground forces, the Czech Air Force plans to participate in the Baltic air-policing mission. While previous rotations were based at the Šiauliai Air Base, in Lithuania, then Ämari Air Base is being considered as the site of the next rotation.

The Defence Ministers of Estonia as well as the Czech Republic emphasised the need to ensure the security of NATO Member States along the entire length of the Alliance’s border, paying attention to threats emanating from all directions. Both countries are contributing to the composition of the NATO Response Force as well as international operations in the Middle East and Africa.

The Ministers of Defence also confirmed the need to support Georgia in its efforts towards greater Euro-Atlantic integration, over which third countries have no say.

The Czech Minister of Defence gave a speech this morning at the cyber conflict conference CyCon 2016, and visited Ämari Air Base.

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