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At the press conference preceding the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Spring Session which began in Tallinn at Swissôtel, the Head of the Estonian delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Marko Mihkelson stressed the important role of the Assembly in ensuring security in the world. He underlined in particular the organisation’s contribution in Estonia’s integration into NATO. Mihkelson noted: “The NATO PA meeting in Tallinn is important particularly because it provides a chance to operatively discuss the problems related to the world’s hotbeds of tension after the Chicago summit: the situation in the Middle-East, particularly the issues related to Syria and Iran, the situation in Afghanistan and NATO’s relations with Russia. Another important issue is the NATO enlargement process as Georgia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina wish to accede to the Alliance.” The discussion at the NATO PA meeting is of significant importance in all these issues, Mihkelson emphasised. 

The President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Karl Lamers highlighted the focal issues to be discussed at the event. They include smart defence and NATO’s deterrence capability, the security situation in Afghanistan and NATO’s partnership relations. 

This afternoon, the meeting of the NATO–Russia Parliamentary Committee (“at 29” format) will take place, where Ibtisam al-Ketbi, a professor at the United Arab Emirates University, will make a report on security issues in Middle East and North Africa. Heads of the NATO PA delegations and a delegation of the Federal Assembly of Russia led by Vladimir Komoedov will participate in the committee meeting. 

The standing committees of the Parliamentary Assembly will hold their sittings at Swissôtel on the two following days. Overviews will be by the Minister of Defence of Estonia Urmas Reinsalu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia Urmas Paet and the Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces Riho Terras. At the plenary session on Monday, 28 May, the President of the Republic Toomas-Hendrik Ilves, the President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma, the President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Karl Lamers and the NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow will deliver speeches. The plenary session will be broadcast live on the web and it can be followed at the Riigikogu website. 

During four days, members of the parliaments of the NATO member states and guests will discuss the activities of the Alliance after the Chicago summit, the security problems in the Middle East and North Africa, relations with international organisations, and cyber security and smart defence. 

On the occasion of the NATO PA Spring Session, the Estonian Atlantic Treaty Association will organise public screenings of documentaries in Cinema Artis on today and tomorrow evening. The screenings will be preceded by a discussion where experts of the field will speak of security issues with those interested. The screenings will be free and more information is available on the website of Cinema Artis www.kino.ee 

The Riigikogu Press Service