Estonian defense minister visits Tbilisi, invites Georgia to Spring Storm exercise
After meeting in Saaremaa on Monday to discuss preparations for the upcoming NATO summmit in Warsaw, Estonian Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso and his Latvian and Lithuanian counterparts traveled to Tbilisi, where Hanso met with various Georgian officials and visited the Georgian Cyber Security Bureau.
Hanso met with Georgian Minister of Defense Tinatin "Tina" Khidasheli and Chief of General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces Maj. Gen. Vakhtang Kapanadze on Wednesday in order to discuss further defense cooperation between the two countries.
The Estonian minister also invited Georgia to to take part in Spring Storm, the annual large-scale military exercise of the Estonian Defence Forces in which a total of approximately 1,200 visiting troops from Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, the US, the UK, Germany, Canada, Finland and Poland took part this year.
“The NATO Warsaw Summit is not the finish line; rather it is one milestone on a long road which the Georgian people are persistently following,” said Hanso. “Georgia is not carrying out the reforms necessary for NATO integration for the officials in Brussels, but for its own people. The proud Georgian people are worth continuing these efforts.”
Prior to this meeting, Hanso and the Latvian Minister of Defence Raimonds Bergmanis and Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas also met with Khidasheli together.
Hanso also visited the Cyber Security Bureau in Tbilisi, where he was given a thorough overview of the development of the cyber defense field in Georgia. Estonia has supported the bureau since its establishment in 2014.
“In cyberspace, it is intelligence and cleverness which count, not size,” noted Hans. “Estonia has enough experience and knowledge in the cyber field to share with good friends. Georgia’s rapid development in the cyber field deserves recognition.”
While in Tbilisi, Hanso also met with Georgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mikheil Janelidze, with whom he discussed the security situation in the South Caucasus. Hanso stated that Estonia supports the territorial integrity of Georgia according to its internationally recognized borders. He also commended Georgia’s clear policy of solving the issue using only diplomatic means.