On a visit to the United States, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on January 20 to discuss Afghanistan, NATO and relations with Russia.
"Now I could go on and on about Estonia, and I have enjoyed already two visits as Secretary of State to Estonia,“ said Clinton, speaking to the press. "But what I'm most excited about is how closely we are working together to meet the sheer challenges of the 21st century. We are grateful, Minister, for such a dependable, creative and close ally, and we look forward to the work ahead.“
The US Secretary of State continued, “In the 20 years since Estonia’s independence, the country has become a successful model for others, with its internet voting, cyber innovations, commitment to good governance, the rule of law, and fiscal responsibility.”
Clinton commended Estonia's successful handling of NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in April of last year, as well as the new NATO cyber security center in Tallinn. Paet said he was glad to see the US join the NATO Cyber Defence Centre. “Cyber security must become a vital topic for NATO - one that receives attention on a daily basis and on the cyber security planning level,” Paet said at the meeting.
Paet and Clinton also spoke about the situation in Belarus, discussing the possibility of re-instituting sanctions against the country. “Civil society and other democratic forces in Belarus should be supported more than before. People-to-people contacts, youth exchange, and research and cultural contacts should be developed, and opportunities for university students to study in European institutes of higher education should be expanded,” said Paet.
Clinton asserted the importance of Estonia's involvement in aiding Europe’s new democracies, including the opening of the European Union Eastern Partnership Training Centre in Tallinn next week.
On January 21, the foreign minister will meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York.