The Estonian embassy in Minsk, Belarus, is taking over the mandate of the NATO contact point embassy from Latvia.
The contact point embassy operates as a channel for disseminating information about the role and policies of NATO, helps establish and strengthen contacts in the host country, relays information and gives overviews of developments related to NATO security policy in the host country. The contact point embassy has also an important role in organising high-level NATO visits.
According to Estonia’s ambassador to Belarus, Merike Kokajev, this assignment shows that Estonia is a trustworthy ally. “It also helps us develop communications between NATO and Belarus and affirms Estonia’s commitment to NATO partnership,” she said in a statement.
The model of contact point embassies was developed in 1992 and they are based in countries that have partnership with NATO. Belarus joined the Partnership for Peace, a programme aimed at increasing security and defence cooperation between NATO and individual partner countries, in 1995.
Estonia will host the contact point embassy in Belarus until the end of 2018.
Cover: One of Belarus’ symbols, the Zubr statue (the cover image is illustrative.)