The Defence and Security Committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) is meeting in Tallinn on Monday to discuss the security situation in the Baltic Sea region. On Tuesday they will visit Ämari Air Base and observe training exercises that are part of this year's Saber Strike exercise.
The committee is meeting in Tallinn's Toompea Castle on Monday. The round-table discussion will be opened by Riigikogu member Marko Mihkelson (independent), who is also the head of the Estonian delegation to NATO PA.
According to a Riigikogu press release of Monday morning, Mihkelson stressed the importance of committee meetings, as they help members of the alliance's parliaments "get an overview of what is going on in a particular country or region."
He added that it is important to Estonia to create all the necessary conditions for the country's NATO allies to be present here. "And it is important to also show that to the MPs of our allied countries," Mihkelson said.
The meeting will also discuss Estonia's independent defence capabilities, which are especially important in the initial stages of a possible crisis.
The visit will also include presentations by Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE), director of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute Kristi Raik, Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of Defence Kristjan Prikk, and International Centre for Defence and Security research fellow and former Estonian ambassador to the U.S. Eerik Marmei.
Minister of Defence Jüri Luik (Pro Patria) and chairman of the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu, Hannes Hanso (SDE) will talk about NATO's presence in the Baltic States as well as Estonia's national defence goals.
On Tuesday the committee will visit Ämari Air Base, where they will observe the Saber Strike training exercises currently happening in Estonia. Operation Saber Strike is an annual international exercise held by the United States Army Europe in Poland and the Baltic States that this year involves around 18,000 troops.
Saber Strike ends on 15 June. In Estonia, more than 2000 Estonian and allied troops participate in the exercise.
Editor: Dario Cavegn