Prime Minister Ansip expressed his gratitude to the United States for its years of support during the Soviet occupation, as expressed by the fact that it never received US recognition, and its continued support since Estonia regained independence and started down the path of reform.
“We too are now trying to help countries where independence is something they can still only dream about,” said Ansip. Vice President Biden praised Estonia’s willingness to share its experience and assist other reform-minded countries in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
Biden said that Estonia’s success in the twenty years since it regained its independence has been remarkable. “The fact you’ve been such a success story in moving forward sends out a strong signal,” he said. “And that success encourages us here in the United States to continue supporting those countries who have set their sights on democratic reform.”
Biden and Ansip highlighted the cooperation between their two countries in these fields and their wish to see it continue. Ansip said that Estonia’s security had never been as well ensured as it currently was, adding that the United States had a major role to play in that. He confirmed that Estonia had kept its promises: despite the economically difficult times, the state had not reduced its proportion of spending on defense.
Vice President Biden also expressed his gratitude for Estonia’s peace-keeping contribution in Afghanistan and on other international missions. “Estonia is a much-valued partner to the United States,” he said, adding that as an ally in NATO Estonia will never have to worry about the implementation of Article 5, which covers all member states.
Prime Minister Ansip, who made the two-day visit to Washington on the invitation of Vice President Biden, attended a number of other high-level meetings on the trip. In addition to the vice president he also held talks with Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner, Brookings Institution president Strobe Talbott, International Monetary Fund deputy director John Lipsky and representatives of American Jewish organisations.
During the visit the prime minister also took part in an energy round table organised by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, presenting an overview of the challenges facing Estonia and the northern Baltic Sea region in the energy field.
Prime Minister Ansip also met with a group of local business leaders, showcasing the principles of Estonia’s economic and tax policies and its e-government system and describing the business environment in the country generally. By Merilin Mandel (July 22, 2011)