High-Level U.S. Congressional delegation in security and defense visit ({{commentsTotal}})

Members of the U.S. Congress delegation meeting foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu on Tuesday. From left, Dave Loebsack, Thomas O’Halleran, John Shimkus, John Garamendi, Urmas Reinsalu, Vicky Hartzler, Jennifer González.
Members of the U.S. Congress delegation meeting foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu on Tuesday. From left, Dave Loebsack, Thomas O’Halleran, John Shimkus, John Garamendi, Urmas Reinsalu, Vicky Hartzler, Jennifer González. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

A delegation of six United States congressmen and women visited Estonia from Sunday, Sept. 29 to Wednesday, Oct. 2, meeting with foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa), Ämari Airbase, and the Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence (CCDCoE) in Tallinn.

The delegation was led by Member of the House of Representatives John Garamendi (D, CA 3rd congressional district), who is chair of the House Armed Services Committee's Readiness Subcommittee. 

Congressman Garamendi was accompanied by Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), John Shimkus (R-IL), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Jennifer González (R-PR), and Thomas O'Halleran (D-AZ), according to a U.S. Embassy press release.

The group met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu and Ministry of Defense Permanent Secretary Kristjan Prikk on Tuesday, carrying out strategic discussions on security and defense policy. 

"I am very glad that the cooperation between Estonia and the United States has become closer, which is demonstrated by our participation in discussions on cybersecurity," Reinsalu said, according to a foreign ministry press release.

"We firmly support the continuation of transatlantic cooperation and together we are looking for ways to increase it, including on security issues," he added.

The Three Seas Initiative summit in Tallinn in 2020 and Estonia's upcoming non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council were also on the table at the meeting.

The delegation also visited Ämari Airbase, west of Tallinn, to observe ongoing collaboration between Estonian and U.S. service members, participating in conversations with Estonian Defense Force (EDF) leadership.  The visit concluded with briefings at CCDCoE, focusing on the center's multinational research in the cyber field. The delegation had already visited Ukraine and Poland.

The U.S. has provided more than US$100 million in combined security assistance to Estonia over the last several years, the embassy says, and conducts nearly 150 military-to-military engagements per year, with over 60 of those taking place with U.S. personnel based in Estonia.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte



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