Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid discussed the international security situation and the challenges of NATO over the next decade with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels on Wednesday evening and emphasized that one’s ambition level must not be lowered in the field of security.
Kaljulaid noted that NATO’s strength lies in the ability and wish of its members to understand each other’s situation and assessments. “For the people of Estonia, NATO is probably most directly symbolized by the aircraft noise from Amari and the soldiers serving in Tapa with their equipment. Both of these are important for Estonia and the whole alliance. NATO is actually 360 degrees around us. We must not lower our level of security ambition, and to that end, all member states must talk honestly with their allies about their concerns, listen and try to understand others as well. Only in this way can we expect that the threats and concerns of the northeast corner of the alliance will also be understood by other allies. We have one NATO — the same joint organization in the Mediterranean ports and in the Amari hangars,” the president said after the meeting.
The meeting also thoroughly discussed the escalating conflicts and instability in the neighborhood of NATO countries. “We are following with concern the escalation of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and developments in Belarus. NATO’s unified and clear position is that the people of Belarus must have the right to determine their path in free and fair elections,” the head of state said.
At the meeting, Kaljulaid also handed over the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, 1st Class, awarded to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg by the state of Estonia last year.
After the meeting, Estonia also left a digital mark on the functioning of NATO as an organization — the NATO secretary general and the Estonian head of state gave the first virtual two-way press conference in NATO history.
The president is currently on a three-day working visit to Brussels, Luxembourg, Paris. On Thursday, Kaljulaid is scheduled to meet with the Prime Minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel. On Friday, the president’s working visit will continue in Paris.