Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE) met U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson together with his Latvian and Lithuanian colleagues in Washington. The ministers discussed transatlantic relations, security in Europe, preparations for the next NATO summit, and a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and the presidents of the Baltic states.
The Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian foreign ministers stressed the importance of a lasting American presence in the Baltic region. "The USA is an important ally, and in today's security situation we are facing the same dangers," Mikser said. There is no doubt that the alliance between the USA and the Baltic states will last, he added.
"We are happy that the USA's new national security strategy includes the strengthening of NATO's east wing," Mikser said.
Talking about the upcoming NATO summit in July this year, the ministers stressed the importance of strengthening the allied deterrent in the area, and the need to continue with the implementation of the decisions made at the NATO summit in Warsaw in 2016.
Mikser said that a fairer distribution of the financial burden is an important issue to the Baltic states. "There are no disagreements among NATO members about the need to increase defense spending," Mikser said. "But it is important that we get to actual results."
Tillerson once again recognized the Baltic states' efforts and that they already meet the 2-percent GDP defense spending goal of the alliance.
The ministers also discussed the planned meeting of President Trump with the presidents of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania next month. Mikser said that they are hoping for results regarding both trade and the strengthening of the security of the Baltic states.
The tariffs on steel and aluminium imports recently announced by Trump were also a topic of the meeting. "The Baltic states have always supported free trade," Mikser said. "Additional limitations aren't in anyone's interest."
Ukraine was discussed as well. "It is extremely important to maintain the transatlantic unity in the question of the Ukraine, and to continue a policy of sanctions against Russia together," Mikser said.
Editor: Dario Cavegn