"I do hope that the NATO summit in Chicago will confirm that NATO is visible, credible and deterring, offering its allies reliable protection and its partners the support that they need," told
the President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, at his meeting with William
Burns, the Deputy Secretary of State of the USA.
Deterrence and the defence abilities of the alliance require consistent development and modernisation, as they must also ensure uniform protection for the whole NATO territory, emphasised the Estonian Head of State.
"We need a NATO that is capable of remaining the most powerful military alliance in these economically complicated times," told President Ilves, who is concerned about the consistent drop in defence expenditures by European members of the alliance. This year, Estonia's defence expenditure budget amounts to two per cent of our GDP.
The Estonian Head of State and the Deputy Secretary of State of the USA highlighted extending the Baltic air policing mission as an exercise without a term, the establishment of a NATO missile shield system and a larger contribution to fending off cyber threats as important issues within the context of the NATO summit.
"Cyber security is not just a technical issue; it is part of a military and civil purpose defence system of NATO and allies of the organisation that is integrated with NATO's planning procedure more than ever," told President Ilves. "Although NATO does not have to be a central international organisation for the purposes of cyber defence, it would be short-sighted and negligent if the alliance failed to focus on these issues."
When speaking about Afghanistan, the Estonian Head of State considered it important for the alliance to ensure responsible and consistent support to building up a stable and secure country, even after winding up NATO's military operation there in 2014.
"In order for our efforts and sacrifices of more than ten years, the courage of our soldiers and the fact that our people consented to this NATO operation not to be a waste, and for Afghanistan to stop being a threat to its own region, European citizens and the West – this is our objective," assured President Ilves.
Also, according to his words, NATO needs to maintain the co-operation skills developed by the allies and our partners by operating together in the conflict area, as in Afghanistan, and enhance such skills through frequent joint exercises.
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