Kerry to Kaljurand: US commitment to Estonia’s security is "ironclad"
In a meeting with Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marina Kaljurand on Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry stressed that the United States’ is strongly committed to Estonia’s security under NATO’s Article 5.
“Estonia is a very, very key partner in NATO, a strong ally,” Kerry said, according to the transcribed remarks posted on the State Department’s website. “I can happily say it has been a leading country on the issue of two percent [GDP] contribution to NATO. And I want to ensure that the people of Estonia know that our commitment under Article 5, our commitment to security, is ironclad."
“We’re also very grateful for Estonia’s engagement in the effort to make sure that the integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine are protected. Everybody has a stake in that issue, but few people have been as clear and as consistent as Estonia has about this,” he continued.
One reason for that, according to Kerry, was clearly the fact that, being a frontline state, Estonia knows very well just how much is on the line.
Kaljurand thanked the United States on behalf of Estonia and the Estonian people for its support and leadership, citing that both are more important than ever in today’s changing security situation.
“We are very good friends, allies, partners,” the Estonian minister confirmed. “Our bilateral relations are excellent. But there is always room for improvement, even for excellent relations. So today I hope to discuss the upcoming NATO Summit in Warsaw. Estonia is among the nations that contributes two percent of GDP to defense. We understand the difficult and complex security situation in Europe, and we are not consumers but also providers of security. So we are vocal in NATO, in the EU, in other organizations.”
“We support democracy,” said Kaljurand. “We support freedom of other nations to choose their future. So I’ll be happy to discuss the conflict of Russia and Ukraine, and Ukraine, more widely.”
Kaljurand, who previously traveled to Washington to meet with Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss similar topics in December 2015, has served as the Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs since July 2015, and has previously also served as Estonia’s Ambassador to the United States (2011-2014), and Ambassador to the Russian Federation (2007-2011). The opening remarks from yesterday’s meeting between Kaljurand and Kerry can be read and watched online on the State Department’s website.
Editor's note: Kaljurand's statements have been edited very slightly for clarity.