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Chairman of the National Defence Committee Marko Mihkelson met with members of the House of Representatives of the US Congress and expressed his gratitude for the long term and constant support of the USA in ensuring Estonia's security. He also expressed his hope that US will increase its rotational contingent in the region.

The security situation of the region was one of the topics at the bilateral meeting, while defence cooperation was also discussed at length.

Mihkelson commented on the continually tense security situation in the region, with no signs of the situation stabilising in Ukraine. He added that we are not dealing only with Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, but to all intents and purposes with the continuation of the Cold War against the West and NATO.

Mihkelson named efficient cooperation between Estonia and US and NATO as the key factor in ensuring security. “The closer our cooperation with our allies is, the better ensured is our security,” Mihkelson said.

Mihkelson said at the meeting that the current company level for every country is not sufficient and that the Baltic states need a larger, permanently rotating contingent of allied forces to be deployed here. He assures that Estonia is making additional investments in Tapa and is reconstructing Ämari Air Base for this purpose.

The Chairman of the National Defence Committee said that the Estonian political parties are in agreement that defence expenses should be kept at two per cent of the GDP.

Members of the National Defence Committee Marianne Mikko, Ants Laaneots and Johannes Kert also took part in the meeting with the members of the House of Representatives of the US Congress Rob Wittman, Madeleine Bordallo, Bill Flores, Robert Pittenger and Kenny Marchant and the accompanying delegation.

The delegation also met the Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Defence, and representatives of the leadership of Defence Forces. A visit to the US units at Tapa is scheduled for Saturday.

Photos of the meeting: https://fotoalbum.riigikogu.ee/v/Riigikogu/XIII+Riigikogu/07082015/

Riigikogu Press Service

Epp-Mare Kukemelk

Phone: 631 6356, 515 3903

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