Reinsalu Meets Counterpart in Washington ({{commentsTotal}})

Defense Minister Urmas Reinsalu is winding up a three-day visit to the US during which defense cooperation and the international security situation was discussed at a range of meetings.

On his three-day visit, Reinsalu met US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Senator John McCain, U.S. House Representative John Shimkus and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Discussions with analysts and experts from the US government, think tanks, research centres and institutes also took place.

At the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Reinsalu spoke of the phenomenon of "defense spending weariness," where countries fail to view the spending as expenditure on peacetime security.

Estonia has championed compliance with the recommendation that NATO countries spend 2 percent of GDP on defense. However, five of 28 countries spend under 1 percent, and only four - Estonia, the US, Greece and the UK - meet the 2 percent mark.

Reinsalu also took part in a NATO future roundtable and an exchange of ideas on Estonia and regional security. He met Estonian helicopter pilots Captain Rene Kallis and Captain Martin Noorsalu, who are serving in the Maryland National Guard, the long-term partner of the Estonian Defense Forces.

Reinsalu also laid a wreath at the Washington memorial to the victims of communism.

- In other news on the US/defense front, the US took over the rotating Baltic airspace policing mission last week. Belgium’s air contingent handed over the NATO mission to the American F-15C Eagle fighter jets at a formal changeover ceremony at Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania.