Estonia Pleased with NATO Contingency Planning Plan

Estonian officials say new secret Nato plan to defence the Baltic states is an early Christmas present and promise to say nothing about the military blueprint. It is seen as a major development for the Baltic states five years after joining Nato, but Estonians also worried about Warsaw’s reaction. The Estonians worry that the plan could still be vetoed by European powers reluctant to antagonise Russia. Key passage highlighted in yellow.

1. (U) Pol Chief and DATT delivered reftel points on December 15 to Paul Teesalu, Director of the MFA’s Security Policy Division, and to Sven Sakkov, MOD Undersecretary for Defense Policy, and Eerik Marmei, MOD Director of the NATO and ESDP Department.

2. (S) Teesalu welcomed the information and called it an “early Christmas present.” Teesalu was pleased to see a clear plan to add the Baltic States to Eagle Guardian, and thought this the best option for easily including the Baltic region in contingency planning. Teesalu also fully agreed that all such discussion should be conducted out of the public eye, stating that Estonia is looking for, “solidarity, not visibility.” The GOE has asked the Lithuanians to keep contingency planning discussions private as well.

3. (S) Sakkov likewise stated this information is good news, and is a major event for Estonia 5 B= years after joining NATO. He thanked the USG for its support on contingency planning. Sakkov however wondered about the Polish reaction. On the margins of the November 2008 NATO-Ukraine Commission meeting the Polish delegation told Sakkov that they were against including the Baltic states into Eagle Guardian as they did not want the Polish plan to be diluted or held hostage in case other allies opposed adding the Baltic states. Sakkov added he recently heard from Lithuanian counterparts that Poland has not softened its position.

4. (S) Sakkov was also concerned about the process of getting the Baltic region added to EAGLE GUARDIAN, asking on several occasions whether the Chairman of the Military Committee (CMC) would have to inform the North Atlantic Council (NAC) or just the Secretary General (SECGEN), and how the addition would be approved in the MC and tasked to SACEUR. Although not expressly stated, he seemed concerned about opportunities for other members to put a stop to the process.

5. (S) Sakkov further stated he would immediately inform President Ilves, prior to Ilves’ departure for a December 16 meeting with the Baltic, and possibly Polish, presidents. Sakkov said Estonian J3 and J5 planners were ready to assist in developing the contingency plan, but asked if the USG had any further information on a reassurance package for the Baltic states – something that can be used publicly, such as increased exercises, to show the Baltic peoples they will be covered by Article