Mon, May 21, 2012
World > International Organizations

Estonia welcomes NATO's policing mission in Baltic air space

2012-05-21 10:38:05 GMT2012-05-21 18:38:05(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

TALLINN, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Estonian government expresses its warm welcome to NATO's decesion on a permanent Baltic air space policing mission, which has been made at the ongoing NATO summit in Chicago.

"The Baltic air policing mission is a good example of smart joint activity by NATO member countries", Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said in a cabinet press statement on Monday.

"This decision frees up resources that the Baltic states can contribute to other NATO activities,"he went on.

The Baltic Air Policing program, which involved up to four jets at a time, was initiated in 2004 and was extended to 2014 in 2010.

NATO officials disclosed earlier this year that the program, in which larger member states patrol the region with their fighter jets on a rota basis, would be extended for an indefinite period.

To preserve the alliance and to ensure combat capabilities, NATO members must be prepared to invest into defense even during tough economic times, Ansip said.

Estonia has made a decision to, in 2012, invest 2 percent of GDP into military spending - a NATO membership requirement that few have fulfilled, he stressed.

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