Defense ministers of the Baltic states to continue developing trilateral military cooperation

The Baltic Course
Petras Vaida

During friday’s meeting in Jaunmoku castle, Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian defense ministers expressed firm determination to continue developing trilateral military cooperation. Ministers Juozas Olekas, Vinets Veldre and Jaak Aaviksoo signed updated version of defense and military cooperation agreement replacing the old version validated in 1995, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry announced.

By the new version of the agreement Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian defense ministries commit to develop cooperation in the fields of defense policy and planning, defense capacity development, logistics, procurement and crisis management. Cooperation fields defined in the preceding agreement were also re-confirmed cooperation within international formats, joint training and education for military and civilian personnel, development of joint communication and information systems, and issues of legal character, informs ELTA.

Baltic defense ministers also revalidated political guidelines considering further development of BALTRON Squadron, cooperative procurement and study of Baltic air-policing mission prospects. The latter should be prepared by 2010 and suggest optimal solution for air-policing mission implementation from 2018.

The ministers emphasized that international commitments and practical as well as political support will be continued for the Ukraine, Georgia and the Balkan countries aspiring NATO membership. The officials also stressed the growing importance of cyber defense, energy security and missile defense. Cooperative projects of the Baltic States including the Baltic Air Surveillance Network BALTNET, Baltic Defense College BALTDEFCOL, Baltic Mine Countermeasures Squadron BALTRON and BALTBAT Battalion to be deployed for standby in NATO RF in 2010 were evaluated as especially successful.

Baltic defense ministers traditionally meet twice a year. The following meeting will be held in autumn in Lithuania.