Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) said on the second day of the meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Riga that the alliance is still prepared to welcome Ukraine and Georgia and that no other country has any right or influence in the decision.
The second day of the NATO ministerial meeting in Riga covered the tense situation at Ukraine's borders and the Black Sea region, the lessons of Afghanistan and the situation on the Western Balkans, the foreign ministry announced via press release.
Foreign minister Liimets said that when it came to the NATO membership of Ukraine and Georgia, the alliance's open door policy remained unchanged. "At its summit this summer, the Alliance affirmed its door remained open. This principle has not changed and no third country has any right or influence in these decisions," the minister said.
At a bilateral meeting with Ukraine's foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba, Liimets reiterated Estonia's strong support for Ukraine. She also affirmed Estonia was ready to take further steps to assist Ukraine both bilaterally as well as at EU and NATO level, and to support the reform process in Ukraine.
"We are keeping Ukraine, and consequently the most important issues of our region on the agenda in NATO, the European Union and the UN. We support Ukraine's ambition of becoming a contributing participant at the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence in Tallinn," Liimets said.
Summarising the lessons of the Afghanistan mission, the ministers noted that the experience must be taken into account when drawing up NATO's next strategic concept. After the end of the mission, the main objective of the alliance is to reduce the terror threat coming from Afghanistan, which has been contained in recent decades thanks to the allied actions.
At a meeting with the foreign minister of Montenegro, Minister Liimets assured that the countries had good defense cooperation, and reaffirmed Estonia's support for EU enlargement.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste