Defence Forces commander, British minister, U.S. Congress delegation meet
Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces Lt. Gen. Riho Terras met with British Minister of State for Defence and deputy leader of the House of Lords, Earl Howe, as well as a U.S. Congress delegation to discuss matters related to security and the presence of allied troops.
Lord Howe said that it was important to the United Kingdom to intensify the close relationship between the UK and Estonia in the field of defense. He thanked the Estonian government and defense forces for the support in the implementation of the additional security measures.
Howe added that though the UK was leaving the European Union, it was important to understand that it wasn’t leaving Europe. Its relations with its European allies needed to become even stronger, which was expressed in the UK’s investment in the NATO rapid response force as well as missions of the European Union, such as operation Sophia in the Mediterranean, he said.
Terras said that the exchange of information between allies had never been more intense than it was now. “Considering the security situation and the arrival of UK units in Estonia, it’s extremely important for us to exchange information constantly with both the political and the military tier of our allies, as only in such a way we can be sure that we have a mutual understanding,” Terras said.
The U.S. Congress delegation made similar statements. “We are here with representatives of both parties to reaffirm that the United States will firmly fulfill its obligations as an ally,” Senator Christopher Coons of Delaware said, who is leading the delegation.
The members of Congress who visited Estonia this week met with President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand, and members of the Riigikogu.