Baltics, Poland deepen defense cooperation

Baltic and Polish foreign ministers in Riga on January 31, 2023.
Baltic and Polish foreign ministers in Riga on January 31, 2023. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland signed a joint agreement to depend on security cooperation and establish a new platform that spans the four countries.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) and his counterparts co-signed the document in Riga, Lavia on Tuesday.

It "lays the foundation for a cooperation platform of the four countries, managed by the foreign ministers", the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

"We are stronger together. As members of the EU and NATO, we see that we can further boost our cooperation to strengthen collective deterrence, reinforce regional security, promote economic growth and ensure prosperity for our people," Reinsalu said.

 The ministers reiterated their commitment to providing political, military and economic support and humanitarian aid to Ukraine until the war is won. 

"February and March will be critical for Ukraine and we must do our utmost to help Ukraine resist on the battlefield," Reinsalu emphasized. 

He added that work towards an international tribunal holding the perpetrators to account must continue, as well as finding a legal framework to seize Russian assets and create a new EU sanctions package.

The ministers also discussed cooperation to help Ukraine on its path to the EU and NATO.

Reinsalu said: "In Russia's war, Ukraine is fighting for not only its country and people but also the security of Europe and the values we cherish."

The declaration is published in full below.

Baltic and Polish foreign ministers in Riga on January 31, 2023. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland share a similar historical experience of aggression and severe oppression by revisionist totalitarian regimes during many decades of the 20th century. Due to our common past, we have developed a similar understanding of potential threats and the determination to strengthen our security and protect our independence and territorial integrity. During the last decades, we have developed close and successful cooperation based on a like-minded approach to many issues on the regional and international agenda, especially foreign and security policy, energy independence, connectivity and transport infrastructure.

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland share a close vision on the actions necessary to deter and defend against security threats in the region. Together we have elaborated initiatives aimed at fighting against hybrid threats, ensuring deterrence and defense, strengthening border security, as well as supporting Ukraine that have later been successfully implemented in various forms and frameworks including the European Union, NATO and the United Nations.

We reiterate the high importance of continuing political, military, financial support and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. Cooperation within NATO, with an irreplaceable role of the close transatlantic bond, is the cornerstone of our security.

While being member states of the EU and NATO, we acknowledge the potential to further intensify our cooperation for the sake of mutual benefit. Cooperation between our countries should be developed on a political and practical level to enhance our efforts to strengthen collective deterrence and resilience and promote economic growth and prosperity of the region and beyond.  We will continue and enhance our close coordination at the level of Foreign Ministers.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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