U.S. and Estonian defense ministers meet
Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso (SDE) met with his U.S. counterpart Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter on Tuesday. Hanso is on a working visit to the United States. The ministers discussed security issues, and the increasing American military presence in Europe.
Hanso said after his meeting with Carter that Estonia and the United States agreed on their position on defence and deterrence in Europe. Hanso didn’t want to go into detail about what exactly was agreed on, as the final decisions would be made at the upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw.
Hanso said he told Carter that Estonia would like to see more U.S. and allied forces on its territory. He also said that an allied battalion could be stationed in every one of the Baltic States.
“I think we share the point of view with the United States that we don’t have the choice not to react to Russia’s behavior,” the Defence Minister said.
According to the Ministry of Defence, Carter assured Hanson that the United States were ready to support Estonia’s security.
The United States acknowledged that Estonia was allocating funding in the amount of 2% of its GDP to national defense, and that it participated actively in matters of global security and wasn’t just a passive consumer of the efforts of others.
Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter thanked Estonia for its contribution to military operations in Africa, Afghanistan, and in the Balkans, and appreciated its decision to consider supporting the United States’ coalition against ISIS by potentially sending instructors to Iraq.
The ministers also discussed the challenges facing NATO in the area of cyberdefense. Carter had stressed that the role of NATO’s cyberdefense centre needed to increase to support the alliance’s ability to react to such attacks, Hanso said. Both ministers stressed the importance of cooperation in the matter.
Defence Minister Hannes Hanso also laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.