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Baltic Defence Ministers agreed upon the recommendations of the air-policing study


On May 7 Defence Ministers of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia convened in Vilnius. In the meeting Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Rasa Juknevičienė, Defence Minister of Latvia Imants Liegis and Defence Minister of Estonia Jaak Aaviksoo discussed points of trilateral defence and security cooperation. The Ministers highlighted highly productive and efficient defence cooperation of the Baltic States as a model for other countries' cooperation in other fields. Many of the Baltic defence cooperation projects began before the countries joined NATO and are relevant to this day.


Participants of the meeting discussed perspectives of the Baltic Air-policing mission after 2018, and approved the expert-level study of prospects of the mission. The study will be represented to representatives of the national Governments of the Baltic States and the allies. The Ministers agreed to recommend to the Governmental authorities to consent to prolongation of the NATO's Air-policing mission in the Baltic States. By NATO's decision, the mission will last till the end of 2014 while the Baltic States pursue to prolong the mission till 2018 and beyond.


The Ministers emphasised the necessity to continue improving the quality of host nation support and opportunities of conducting exercises to the states participating in the Air-policing mission. Minister of National Defence Rasa Juknevičienė said: „I am optimistic and I have faith that it is possible for the Baltic States to reach an agreement with NATO countries for a permanent mission if we are able to offer mutually valuable conditions satisfying demands from both sides. That is even more probable because of the signal of support to the mission prolonged till 2018 and beyond that I have received during my recent trip to the United States."


The meeting also addressed the long-term development plan of the Baltic Defence College that should conclude a year of reforms of the military training institution. According to R. Juknevičienė, reform of BALTDEFCOL is tailored to turn the institution into a prestigious military education school reputed in the Baltic region and beyond.


The Ministers also reiterated the strife of joint defence procurements of the Baltic States and agreed to revert to the question in the upcoming meeting in Tallinn after Defence Ministries will have conducted an exhaustive study of possibilities. Minister Rasa Juknevičienė accentuated that joint procurement would enhance the efficiency of employing limited defence budgeting.


The meeting officials also signed a letter of intent on cooperation in defence research and technology. 


In the meeting the Ministers underlined the necessity of tighter defence cooperation with the Nordic states and Poland.

Lithuanian Defence Minister pointed out the need for closer consultations between NATO members on transferring defence technologies of strategic importance to the third states.


The Ministers closed the meeting by signing a joint communiqué.

Spokesperson to the Minister of National Defence Danguolė Bičkauskienė,
phone no. 00370 686 06265, 00370 2735520


Pictures by A.Pliadis

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