Estonian, UK Defense Ministers Renew Cooperation Agreement ({{commentsTotal}})

The Estonian and British defense ministers, Urmas Reinsalu and Philip Hammond, have signed a bilateral memorandum of understanding, updating its predecessor from 1994.

The formal signing ceremony took place yesterday inside the British-built Lembit submarine, an exhibition at the Seaplane Harbor museum in Tallinn, reported ETV.

The document expresses an intent to strengthen cooperation in light of troop pullouts from Afghanistan in 2015.

Discussing NATO developments, Hammond said: "The key message for the summit next year is going to be about reinforcing the trans-Atlantic bond and sending a clear message to a sometimes skeptical American public that the Europeans in NATO are willing to defend themselves - they are committed to the defense of our homeland."

Reinsalu commented on the symbolic timing of the signing event: "Ninety-five years ago in December the British fleet was a really big help in the first days of the War of Independence. The British fleet saved the situation in the War of Independence. Today, Estonia and the United Kingdom are brothers in arms in the Afghanistan combat mission and we are interested in very strong cooperation."

The Estonian and British ministers are today traveling to Helsinki for a meeting with Nordic defense ministers.

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