NATO open door policy set to continue says foreign minister

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Foreign minister Sven Mikser (SDE) was at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels on Wednesday, focussing on moving forward the alliance’s relationship with the Western Balkan nations and looking at opportunities in support of Afghanistan.

Sven Mikser stated the representatives reaffirmed NATO’s commitment to its open door policy.

“Macedonia and Greece have demonstrated good will in trying to solve the Macedonia name dispute,” said Mr Mikser, referring to the disputed name of the former Yugoslav republic, which is also the historical name of a northern Greek region incorporating parts of present day Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia and Kosovo as well as Greek territory and the whole of the current state of Macedonia.

”Hopefully this situation will make it possible to welcome Macedonia as the 30th member of NATO next year,” Mr Mikser added, according to ministry spokespersons.

Common values

Mr Mikser went on to explain that the NATO accession perspective will increase regional stability and foster the development of common values.

“It is a process which will improve safety in the NATO neighbourhood and consequently the safety of its allies,” he said.

The next steps in relations between NATO and Bosnia and Herzegovina were also discussed in Brussels. The ministers affirmed NATO’s readiness to accept the submission of the country’s first Annual National Program (ANP), which will support Bosnia and Herzegovina in implementing the political, economic and defence reforms required for membership.

Mr Mikser also underscored the need to turn more attention to Russian strategic influence operations in the Western Balkan region.

Afghanistan

NATO allies and partners supporting Afghanistan discussed opportunities to promote the country’s peace process and enhance security there. In recent months, NATO allies have increased their support for Afghanistan with additional funds and forces.

On Tuesday the Riigikogu approved the draft resolutions concerning the international missions of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) next year, which will have a second reading on 12 December.

If approved, this would bring up to 46 Estonian personnel to the NATO-led NATO-led training and advisory mission in Afghanistan, as well as further personnel commitments in the French-led mission in Mali, which EDF troops have already been involved in.

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