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Today’s sitting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Political Committee in Tallinn concentrated on the results of the Chicago Summit. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet highlighted the political aspects. He stressed that Estonia considers Afghanistan, defence expenditure, deterrence and defence capabilities and cyber security issues to be paramount for the future of the Alliance. 

The Minister said that the termination of the military mission in Afghanistan does not mean that the support of the international community will end. “NATO has emphasised that the Alliance will continue to support the country through its training, consultation and aid mission,” Paet said. It is also important to ensure the sustainable development of Afghan security forces. 

Paet said that the decrease in defence expenditure of European countries in the aftermath of their budget problems may influence NATO capability to react to outside threats. He emphasised that Estonia strongly supports the agreement that defence expenditure should make up 2 % of the GNP of NATO member states. 

According to the Minister, contributing to the field of defence also gives assurance to the United States of America that Europe continues to be a trustworthy partner who contributes to ensuring security at the international level. Paet was adamant that Europe should honour its commitments. 

The Minister emphasised that member states should cooperate more closely and efficiently to ensure the capability of the Alliance. He highlighted the air surveillance mission of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which is to be indefinitely extended, as was confirmed once more in Chicago. “This is a good example of smart cooperation between NATO member states which helps to reduce the expenses of individual member states,” Paet remarked. 

The Minister of Foreign Affairs also values the development of the deterrence capability of the Alliance by improving the visibility of NATO in its territory. He added that the NATO exercise Steadfast Jazz 2013 will take place in the Baltic region in 2013. 

The Minister highlighted the NATO capability to react to diverse threats and its readiness to fight new challenges. According to Paet, we must increasingly reckon with threats that arise in cyber space and we therefore need to pay more attention to issues of cyber defence. 

Estonia’s permanent representative to NATO, Ambassador Jüri Luik, analysed problems related to ensuring defence capability and cementing security. 

The Political Committee will discuss the Arab Spring, security in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf, and issues related to NATO budget. 

Civil Security Committee will also discuss problems related to the Arab Spring and Afghanistan, as well as the latest developments in Russia. In this issue, an overview will be made and the situation will be analysed by the Director of the Baltic Centre for Russian Studies Vladimir Yushkin

The Science and Technology Committee will concentrate on issues related to the functioning of the cyber space and the rules generated by NATO positions. Discussion will also touch on the problems of using atomic energy after Fukushima, the Iranian nuclear programme, the use of unmanned aerial intelligence vehicles and the future of air forces. 

The Riigikogu Press Service

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