Ilves & Stoltenberg: A strong NATO is the answer to the changed security situation ({{commentsTotal}})

Jens Stoltenberg meeting Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves Source: (Raigo Pajula/Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and President Toomas Hendrik Ilves focused on increasing the strength and visibility of the alliance, the security situation in areas close to NATO's borders, and new threats, while meeting at Kadriorg during NATO chief's Estonia visit on Thursday.

"In the last year we've seen with our own eyes and experienced for ourselves how NATO has grown stronger and more decisive," Ilves said. "That's the only answer, and the only way we can deter those who attack not only the independence and territorial integrity of neighboring states, but the democratic way of life of us all."

President Ilves and Secretary General Stoltenberg agreed that the visible presence of NATO in the region is of the utmost importance.

"We want to see more of a military presence of NATO's European allies here, too," President Ilves admitted.

Ilves and Stoltenberg said during their meeting that knowing in advance what is happening close to NATO's borders has become crucial in the current security situation, since the earlier that threats are detected the more effectively the alliance's members can work together to prepare for a variety of developments.

President Ilves said that in the future there will be no conflicts which do not come with wide-ranging cyber attacks and precisely targeted propaganda. He encouraged NATO allies to make more use of the opportunities provided by the alliance's Tallinn-based cyber defense center, as well as the strategic communications center that recently opened in Rīga.

Ilves and Stoltenberg said that the Eastern partnership countries that had chosen the path of reform – Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – need the visible and tangible support of democratic countries, as this will help defend their right to independent choices free from the threat of economic or political reprisals and sanctions.

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