Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on Wednesday, where they discussed the current security situation in Europe, the deterrence and defense posture of NATO's Eastern Flank as well as Estonia and the United States' bilateral relations.
"Estonia and the United States' relations are excellent and I am glad that our successful cooperation continues to grow," Liimets said at the meeting according to a Foreign Ministry press release. "The United States is our most important strategic ally. We highly appreciate their commitment and leadership in NATO and welcome their decision to increase their presence in Europe, which is extremely important for our security."
On the subject of Russia's actions, the Estonian minister underlined the importance of the unity of NATO and the EU. "In the face of Russia's worrying behavior that continues to disregard international norms, it is crucial to remain united and resolute, both bilaterally as well as in international organisations," she said.
"The Russian Federation must take immediate steps to de-escalate the crisis it has created," Liimets and Blinken said. "This includes removing all military units and weapons amassed at Ukraine's borders and in Belarus and taking them back to their permanent bases, and committing to a diplomatic solution within the dialogue offered via the United States, NATO and the OSCE. We also call upon Belarus to abide by its international obligations, honor its OSCE and other international commitments, and refrain from further heightening tensions."
They also reaffirmed both the U.S. and Estonia's commitment to Article 5 of the Washington Treaty and reiterated continued work to strengthen NATO's deterrence and defense posture to address both current and new threats in Europe. Regular strategic consultations on the security of the Baltic region would continue as well, they added.
During their meeting, Liimets and her American colleague also discussed other NATO-related issues as well as the development of the alliance's new strategic concept.
"The strategic concept adopted by heads of state and government must reflect reality, including the threats we are currently addressing on a daily basis," Liimets emphasized.
This year & diplomatic relations turn 100. Yesterday @SecBlinken met with Foreign Minister @eliimets in Washington, DC to discuss our strong partnership and how we will work together to address the challenges of the moment. pic.twitter.com/WJiF28Fjv4— USEmbassyTallinn (@USEmbTallinn) February 17, 2022
Speaking about advancing democratic values worldwide and the U.S.-led Summit for Democracy initiative, Liimets and Blinken touched on the international Conference for Media Freedom held in Tallinn last week, and the pledge made there to continue to uphold media freedom via the Media Freedom Coalition and other organizations in order to build a digital future based on democratic values.
They also discussed the centennial of diplomatic relations between Estonia and the United States, which is being celebrated this year.
In a joint statement released Wednesday, Liimets and Blinken said that the U.S. and Estonia would reiterate their commitment to their close partnership and work together in upholding their shared values. The two countries will also continue efforts to defend international peace and security, democracy, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The full joint statement can be read on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs site here.
Editor: Aili Vahtla