Remarks With Estonian Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
March 8, 2016

SECRETARY KERRY: Good afternoon, everybody. My great pleasure to welcome Marina Kaljurand, the foreign minister of Estonia. And I’m really happy to have her here in Washington, because we, unfortunately, had to postpone twice – my fault – because of emergency travel. And I’m very, very grateful to Marina for her understanding of that.

Estonia is a very, very key partner in NATO, a strong ally. I can happily say it has been a leading country on the issue of two percent contribution to NATO. And I want to ensure that the people of Estonia know that our commitment under Article 5, our commitment to security, is ironclad.

And we’re also very grateful for Estonia’s engagement in the effort to make sure that the integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine are protected. Everybody has a stake in that issue, but few people have been as clear and as consistent as Estonia has about this. And one of the reasons is, obviously, Estonia lives a frontline state life, and that is one where they understand the stakes as well as anybody.

They’re also a very innovative trade partner, very much engaged in regional energy diversification and other issues. So we have a number of things to talk about today, including, obviously, countering violent extremism and pushing back against any efforts by any country to try to interfere with the sovereignty and integrity of another nation. So welcome to Washington. We’re happy to have you here.

FOREIGN MINISTER KALJURAND: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be back again in Washington, D.C. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Secretary.

SECRETARY KERRY: And you know what (inaudible).

FOREIGN MINISTER KALJURAND: Dear John, thank you for your hospitality. I’m sure that we will have good talks today, and I’m really happy to be here.

I’d like to take the opportunity to express my gratitude and the gratitude of Estonian people and Estonian nation to the United States for your support and for your leadership, which is extremely important in today’s changed security situation, which concerns Europe and even more widely.

Yes, we are very good friends, allies, partners. Our bilateral relations are excellent. But there is always room for improvement, even for excellent relations. So today, we – I hope to discuss the upcoming NATO Summit in Warsaw. Estonia is among the nations that contributes two percent of GDP to defense. We understand the difficult or the complex security situation in Europe, and we are not consumers but we are also providers of security. So we are vocal in NATO, in the EU, in other organizations. We support democracy; we support freedom of other nations to choose their future. So I’ll be happy to discuss conflict of Russia and Ukraine, Ukraine more widely.

You mentioned energy. And we are very happy to cooperate in all the issues concerning cyber, cyber and IT, cyber security. We were the first countries in the world to conclude a memorandum of understanding on cyber security, and we see there is a lot of possibilities for even closer bilateral relations, and of course wider security questions – Syria, energy security. So we have a lot to discuss.

Thank you once again for having me. It’s a pleasure. Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much. Thank you.