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Ministers of Defence of Estonia and Finland meeting on Saaremaa

17. June 2016 - 14:21
Ministers of Defence Jussi Niinistö and Hannes Hanso visiting Saaremaa based shipbuilders Alunaut. Tour is housted by Alunaut's manager Mark Muru.

Today and tomorrow, Estonian Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso and Finnish Minister of Defence Jussi Niinistö will be meeting on Saaremaa to discuss the strengthening of defence related cooperation between the two countries.

Hannes Hanso noted that this is a meeting between good friends and that Estonia and Finland share a similar vision when it comes to national defence-related challenges.

“Finland is our very close friend and security partner; our mutual discussions are open and constructive. We discussed developments in the security situation in connection with the NATO Summit in Warsaw, as well as mutual opportunities for practical cooperation,” said Hanso. “The military cooperation between two brother countries is reaching a qualitatively higher level. In light of the current security situation, neighbouring countries sharing the same handling of security cannot allow themselves to be passive when it comes to cooperation.”

During the visit the Ministers of Defence will be visiting Saaremaa based shipbuilders Alunaut and Baltic Workboats, both of which are manufacturing defence-related vessels. “Introducing such capabilities is a priority within the administrative area of the Ministry of Defence,” Hanso emphasised.

Servicemen from Estonia and Finland are currently serving together in a joint international battalion within the framework of the UN mission UNIFIL, in Lebanon, and this cooperation will continue. Finland offers Estonian military servicemen the opportunity to train with CV90 infantry fighting vehicles, which Estonia has acquired and which have been in use in Finland for some time already. Finland is participating in the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, in Tallinn, and the Baltic Defence College, in Tartu.

Hannes Hanso invited Finland to participate with a unit in the major Defence Forces’ training exercise Kevadtorm. Participation by Finland in the training exercise has thus far has been limited to Finnish staff officers. Jussi Niinistö invited Estonian military servicemen to participate in training exercises organised by Finland.