The first reading of the ratification of the Estonian-U.S. defense cooperation agreement will take place in the Riigikogu on Thursday.
The defense cooperation agreement will regulate the status of members of the U.S. Armed Forces, their dependents and contractors in Estonia, simplify their activity in the country and increase their wellbeing by means of certain incentives granted by the agreement.
The Estonian-U.S. defense cooperation agreement was signed by U.S. Ambassador to Estonia James D. Melville, Jr. and Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna on Jan. 17.
The need to more precisely regulate the presence of NATO allies arose with regards to the presence of U.S. Armed Forces in Estonia; the U.S. proposed the signing of a defense cooperation agreement in August 2016.
The agreement would complement the existing NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) regulating the status of armed forces between NATO member states and replace the agreement on the use of land plots and structures belonging to the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) which was concluded with the U.S. in 2015.
Estonia has previously signed bilateral agreements on the status of armed forces with Kuwait and Germany, for example.
Editor: Aili Vahtla