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The four-day NATO Parliamentary Assembly Spring Session in Tallinn ended today. At today’s plenary session, President Toomas-Hendrik Ilves, the President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma and the NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow made speeches. The President of the Assembly Karl Lamers considered the discussion that had taken place immediately after the Chicago summit fruitful and constructive. He analysed thoroughly the issues that had been on the agenda, stressing in that context the need to strengthen the cooperation of member states. 

The President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma stressed in her speech that the real and substantial solidarity between allies in the issues of defence and security is in the end a much more powerful weapon than the arsenals of all the members. She noted that NATO’s effectiveness and capacity to keep up with the times and offering of security have made the organisation especially attractive to new democracies. 

Ergma highlighted the keywords of the Chicago summit: Afghanistan, missile defence, defence package, deterrence, cyber defence and enlargement – issues that are very important to Estonia. “We have contributed to them with our resources and we wish to continue that. We especially like the phrase “smart defence”, a concept that was mentioned at many discussions. And naturally we are happy when the Baltic Air Policing mission is given as an example of successful practice of smart defence. In the same way as learning at school takes time, the adapting of the principles of smart defence will also take some time. The continuous reducing of the percentage of national defence spending definitely does not fall under this concept,” the President of the Riigikogu explained. 

Ergma pointed out once more that security threats have not disappeared. “Old threats have modernised, new threats have been added. The global responsibility of NATO is growing. In the protection of democratic values and facing new challenges, NATO is expected to show principality, readiness and decisiveness,” Ergma explained. 

The President of the Riigikogu stressed that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as the greatest and the most influential defence and security organisation has an obligation to develop its capacities for resolving the emerging threats and even for preventing them where possible. “The unity between the allies and their operative readiness for joint action, professional training and skills to manage new challenges – these are things at the expense of which we must not economize resources,” Ergma emphasised. She added that, even if it may sound paradoxical, the real danger lies not so much in the emergence of new threats, but in the weak potential of the Alliance to prevent and liquidate them. “The clarity of the principles of NATO and the internal strength of the organisation are the best deterrence against contemporary security threats,” the President of the Riigikogu said at the NATO PA plenary session. 

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves also treated NATO-related issues in the light of the Chicago summit. He pointed out the necessity of developing trans-Atlantic defence and security cooperation, ensuring of the necessary financial means for defence spending by member states and the issues related to cyber defence. The President highlighted cooperation within the framework of “smart defence” as an important objective. Ilves attached special importance to ensuring a termless mission of air policing over the Baltic States which shows clearly the presence of NATO in the region with a view to ensuring security for the region. 

The President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Karl Lamers started his speech in Estonian today. He expressed his gratitude to the Head of the Estonian delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Marko Mihkelson and, together with him, to the whole organising board, for high-level organisation of the Assembly’s Spring Session. 

Additional information is available on the NATO PA homepage on the internet: http://www.nato-pa.int/

Photos: http://fotoalbum.riigikogu.ee/v/2012/Riigikogu/NATO+PA/

The Riigikogu Press Service

 

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