Reinsalu in Sweden: Only together can Russian aggression be countered

Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) meeting with Swedish counterpart Margot Wallström in Stockholm Wednesday.
Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) meeting with Swedish counterpart Margot Wallström in Stockholm Wednesday. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) was in Stockholm, Sweden Wednesday, where he met with counterpart Margot Wallström (Social Democratic Party). The ministers discussed bilateral relations, regional cooperation and security policy, as well as Russia.

"I am glad that the bond between our nations is strong, and that Estonia and Sweden share similar positions on foreign and security issues," Reinsalu said after the meeting, according to a ministry press release.

He noted the two countries' close cooperation the EU and partnership in NATO, adding that while the partnership of Estonia and Sweden in digital and economic areas was already strong, there was a lot of potential to further increase cooperation in those fields.

On the issue of Russia and in particular with reference to the situation in Ukraine, Reinsalu said that Russian aggression could only be countered together.

"At Monday's meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council, I called on my EU colleagues to extend sanctions imposed on Russia to 12 months, and also supplement the list of those people already subject to sanctions, which would send a signal to Russia that its actions have consequences," Reinsalu said.

On regional cooperation, the ministers noted that it was a vital issue for their immediate region, appreciated by all parties.

"This year marks the 10th anniversary of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, adopted during Sweden's presidency, and we can say with certainty that this kind of practical cooperation between states contributes to the stability of the region and bolsters the security of citizens," Reinsalu said.

The two ministers also discussed the Eastern Partnership (EaP),  a joint EU initiative with six Eastern European Partners, governing the union's relationship with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.

Reinsalu stressed that much had been achieved since the launch of the program, but noted the importance of continuing to set ambitious goals. He added that Estonia and Sweden are cooperating closely in the EaP framework to further improve its effectiveness and to bring the six EaP nations closer into the Estonian/Swedish/EU fold.

Swedish officials also shared with Estonian diplomats their experiences and advice on the non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council, which Sweden held in 2017-2018, and which Estonia has been awarded for 2020-2021.

Reinsalu also thanked Wallström for her personal contribution to the creation of the Swedish-Estonian Cooperation Fund, which aims to develop the cooperation of the two countries on social, economic and cultural issues.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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