Estonia, France sign defense cooperation accord
13 September 2011 (BNS)
Estonian Defense Minister Mart Laar and his French counterpart Gerard Longuet signed an intergovernmental agreement on Tuesday that will intensify defense cooperation between Estonia and France.
The agreement replaces the existing agreement between the ministers dating from 1994, spokespeople for the Defense Ministry in Tallinn said. It sets out the main fields of defense cooperation between the two countries, which include information exchanges about defense planning and arms procurements, education and training for members of the defense forces, and cyber defense.
The Estonian minister said France was one of the most active and most influential members of both NATO and the European Union. "Already today the armed forces of Estonia and France are working very closely together in the Baltic air policing mission and in securing together maritime traffic off the Somali coast against pirates. Therefore it makes sense to make a step forward and to bring defense cooperation between the two countries to a new level with an intergovernmental agreement," Laar was quoted as saying.
During Laar's meeting with Longuet the future of the Baltic air policing operation, cyber defense and participation of members of the Estonian defense forces in the anti-piracy operation off the Somali coast together with members of the French military was talked about.
In today's meeting Defense Minister Longuet expressed support for making the present air policing solution permanent, said Laar.
The Estonian minister also visited the operations center of the French Defense Ministry where he was offered an overview of the joint activity of French and Estonian personnel in the anti-piracy operation off the Somali coast and the ongoing Libya operation. "The French military are in every way satisfied with the activity and high professionalism of our ship protection team so far and wish to continue cooperation with Estonia also in the coming year," Laar said after visiting the operations center.
Laar made a speech in the morning at a roundtable on cyber defense at the Sciences Po university of Paris. Before returning to Tallinn he was due to meet with Denis Badre, chair of the group for Franco-Baltic ties in the French Senate.
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