A delegation of U.S. senators arrived on a visit to Estonia on Thursday, October 25, 2018, to discuss security and defense cooperation with Defense Minister Juri Luik, informs LETA/BNS referring to spokespeople for the Ministry of Defense of Estonia.
The delegation, which included members of the defense, intelligence and budgets’ committees, was led by chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Richard Burr. He was accompanied by senators Susan Collins, Jerry Moran and Richard Blunt. All four are Republicans.
Burr said that the United States has supported the continuity of a strong transatlantic relationship by means of various defense initiatives. He considered the opening of the infrastructure at the Amari air base a good example, which provides a supplementary option for hosting allied forces, spokespeople for the Ministry of Defense said.
The Estonian defense minister pointed out that the U.S. presence in Europe has a strong deterring effect, which is a key element in ensuring peace and stability.
Luik thanked the senators for the European Deterrence Initiative, which supports the allies’, including Estonia’s, defense capability by building infrastructure and providing military equipment.
The Estonian minister stressed that the volume of Estonia’s defense budget allows to use the aid from the United States in an effective way and in support of Estonia’s long-term plans.
Luik and the senators also discussed the very close cooperation of the U.S. and Estonia in cyber defense, spokespeople for the ministry added.
Launched in 2014, the aim of the European Deterrence Initiative is to increase the presence of the United States in Europe in order to boost its security. To develop the Amari air base and the Tapa military compound, over 32 million dollars, that is 28 million euros, was allocated in the framework of the program.