Tag Archives: Baltic

Erdogan blocks NATO Baltic advancement

Turkey announced it will oppose NATO’s plans for enhancing defence of three Baltic countries if the Alliance does not recognize militant groups that Ankara defines as terrorist, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, ahead of a NATO alliance summit in London.

Relations between Turkey and its NATO allies have been strained over a number of issues, ranging from Ankara’s decision to purchase Russian air defense systems S-400  to policy vis-à-vis Syria. Several NATO members condemned Turkey’s decision to launch an offensive into northeastern Syria against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia.

Ankara has refused to back NATO defense plan for the Baltics and Poland until it receives more support for its battle with the YPG, which it assesses as a terrorist organization.

Israel strengthens ties with Baltic Republics

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began his visit in Lithuania, saying he hoped to deepen ties with eastern EU nations as Brussels blasted Israel’s plans for fresh settlements in the West Bank.

Dozens of Pro-Palestinian activists waved Palestinian flags and chanted that Netanyahu was “not welcome” while railing against Lithuania‘s ties with Israel outside government buildings in the capital Vilnius, where he held talks with his Lithuanian counterpart Saulius Skvernelis.

Netanyahu thanked Skvernelis for the “strong position you’ve taken in forums of the EU on behalf of truth, on behalf of Israel, on behalf of decency“.

Israel is often mistreated by the EU in Brussels, there are many distortions that are levelled at us, and it is refreshing to see that you take a stand of clarity, of truth and of courage, and we discussed how that can be expanded,Netanyahu added.

Israel approved plans for more than 1,000 settlement homes in the occupied West Bank prompting EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic to say that the bloc was “strongly opposed” to Israel’s “illegal” settlement policy, calling it “an obstacle to peace”.

The settlements “would further jeopardise the prospect of a contiguous and viable future Palestinian state,”  Kocijancic continued.

Netanyahu said he wanted “to achieve a balance in the European Union’s not always friendly relations with Israel” ahead of the the first-ever visit by an Israeli premier to Lithuania.

Israeli PM will meet the leaders of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in Vilnius  during the visit, which is set to last until Sunday, August 26.

Estonia at heart of NATO

NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller began a two-day visit to Estonia on Friday (12 May 2017), stressing that Allied forces in Estonia are at the heart of NATO’s collective defence. Visiting British infantry troops at a training range in Tapa, the Deputy Secretary General said that all Allies stand united against any threat. The British army is leading a battlegroup of about 1,000 NATO troops in Estonia. NATO is expanding its presence in the region in response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and its military build-up in the Baltic region.

Addressing engineers, anti-tank troops and snipers at the Tapa training range, the Deputy Secretary General welcomed that troops from the United Kingdom stand side-by-side with their colleagues from Estonia, making clear this sends a strong message of unity.  At Tapa, the Deputy Secretary General also received briefings by military officers on exercise Spring Storm, which is currently taking place in Estonia with 9,000 troops from several Allied countries taking part. Also on Friday, Ms. Gottemoeller held talks with Estonian Defence Ministers Margus Tsahkna on the current security environment and progress in the deployment of NATO troops to the Baltic States.

On Saturday, the Deputy Secretary General is scheduled to participate in the annual Lennart Mari Conference, where she will speak on the importance of NATO-EU cooperation for European security. Ms. Gottemoeller will wrap up her visit to Estonia by seeing NATO naval forces in Tallinn harbor, where she will thank sailors onboard the Norwegian navy frigate Roald Amundsen for their service in the defence on the Alliance.