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At the meeting with Christian Cambon, the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Armed Forces of the French Senate, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Marko Mihkelson and Chairman of the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu Enn Eesmaa underlined the importance of the defence cooperation and allied relations between Estonia and France.

Mihkelson thanked his French counterpart for the defence support France was showing its ally Estonia. “France is contributing significantly to ensuring the security of Estonia and other Baltic countries within NATO troops, and members of the Estonian Defence Forces participate in operations on NATO’s southern flank together with the French,” he noted. “So far, the defence cooperation between our two countries has been close and successful. We hope it will continue to be so, and become even stronger, because international challenges are not decreasing,” Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee added. 

Mihkelson also emphasised the importance of the cooperation between parliaments, and said that he hoped to meet his French colleague again already this autumn, when the joint visit of the Chairmen of the Foreign Affairs Committees of the Baltic States to Paris would take place.

“NATO is the corner stone of Estonia’s defence policy and security. Therefore, everything relating to NATO is especially important to Estonia,” Chairman of the National Defence Committee Enn Eesmaa said. He pointed out that Estonia greatly valued France’s contribution to defence cooperation, and in recent years, France had become one of our closest allies.

Contribution to defence spending was also spoken about at the meeting. Eesmaa underlined that Estonia considered it important that defence expenses formed at least two per cent of gross domestic product. “We will do everything to ensure that this number remains the same or even increases, if possible,” he emphasised. 

Experiences were exchanged about the activities and organisation of work of the parliaments. Relations with Russia, cooperation possibilities in the sphere of culture and relations with the new administration of the United States were discussed as well.

The Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Armed Forces of the French Senate thanked Estonia for its active participation in various military operations, and assured that Estonia and France shared the same values.

The meeting was attended by Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Mihhail Lotman and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Deputy Chairman of the Estonia-France Parliamentary Friendship Group Raivo Tamm.

Tomorrow, Cambon will visit Tapa military base, and on Monday, he will visit NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. He also plans to meet Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets and Minister of Defence Kalle Laanet.

Photos of the meeting (Erik Peinar, Riigikogu)

Riigikogu Press Service
Liisa Johanna Lukk
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