A delegation of American Republican senators visited Estonia on 25 October where they met with the minister of defence and discussed the security situation in the region and defence cooperation issues.
The delegation was led by senator Richard Burr (R-NC), who, at the meeting with the Estonian defence minister, Jüri Luik (Pro Patria), said that the United States has through different defence initiatives always supported strong Trans-Atlantic relations. One of the examples of these initiatives is the new infrastructure constructed at the Ämari Air Base that helps admit additional allied troops, the defence ministry said in a statement.
According to Luik, the US presence in Europe has a strong deterring effect that is key to guarantee peace and stability in Europe. Luik thanked the senators for the European Deterrence Initiative that is designed to support the allies’, including Estonia’s, defence capabilities by building infrastructure and providing military technology.
American aid supports Estonia’s long-term defence plans
Luik also noted that the level of the Estonian defence expenditure helps the country use the American aid effectively and in support of Estonia’s long-term plans.
The defence minister and the US senators also discussed the cooperation between the two countries in cyber defence.
In addition to Burr, the delegation consisted of Susan Collins (R-ME), Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Roy Blunt (R-MO).
The European Deterrence Initiative is a programme, enacted in 2014, to help strengthen the US presence in Europe to support the continent’s security. The programme has provided over USD32 million to Estonia to reconstruct the Ämari Air Base and the Tapa military complex.
Cover: US senators at the meeting with the Estonian defence minister, Jüri Luik, in Tallinn. Photo by the Estonian ministry of defence.