Foreign Minister Urmas Paet in Meeting with British Foreign Minister: International Forces Can Leave Afghanistan When Nation No Longer Poses Threat


No. 402-E

At their meeting today in London, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and Foreign Minister of Great Britain William Hague recognised the co-operation of Estonian and British soldiers and civil experts in Afghanistan. Foreign Minister Paet stated that Estonian and British soldiers work together in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan and their co-operation goes smoothly. “The goal of the international community is to transfer responsibility for security to the Afghan authorities by 2014, but the most important thing is that Afghanistan no longer poses a threat to the rest of the world, primarily in terms of terrorism,” said Paet. “This is the main requirement that must be fulfilled so that the international forces, including those of Britain and Estonia, can leave Afghanistan,” he added. Paet stated that we must contribute more than before to the reconstruction of the Afghan state so that Afghanistan could develop the capability to support the development of its own nation. “Therefore Estonia has sent eight experts to the NATO and European Union police training missions, and our health care expert in Helmand is continuing his work as well,” said Paet.

Foreign Minister Paet and Foreign Minister Hague also discussed co-operation in NATO and the European Union. Paet invited Great Britain to participate in the air policing mission over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. “We would like to extend the Baltic air policing mission until 2018, and Great Britain’s participation is welcomed,” said Paet. Paet also invited Great Britain to participate in the work of the NATO Cyber Defence Centre in Tallinn.

Paet and Hague also discussed getting out of the international financial crisis. “We agree that international organisations must draw their own conclusions and limit expenditures. One can’t hope for large budgetary growth if the economy hasn’t recovered from the crisis,” said Paet.

The foreign ministers also addressed NATO and the European Union’s relations with Russia as well as NATO and European Union enlargement. In talking about European Union-Russia relations, the foreign ministers asserted that in order to achieve visa freedom, for example, Russia must first fulfil all the technical requirements and only then can progress be made towards political decisions.

Paet invited British Foreign Minister Hague to visit Estonia in the near future.

Photo from the meeting:

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