Today, Secretary Clinton met with Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tallinn, Estonia. Following their meeting, the Secretary said:
"When I visited Estonia in 1994, this nation was emerging from Soviet occupation and just beginning to build the economic institutions and the civil society needed for a functioning, vibrant democracy. When I came back in 2004, only 10 years later, Estonia was a proud new member of NATO and of the EU. And today, Estonia is not only a trusted and valued ally to the United States, but it is a model for countries, particularly new democracies, the world over.
"I want to thank the Estonian Government for hosting this meeting of the NATO foreign ministers, as well as our non-NATO partners. And to the Estonian people, thank you once again for putting up with thousands of visitors who have descended here on Tallinn. Some came by every mode of transportation, so we're all happy to be with you.
"Today, the foreign minister, as he said, discussed the importance with me of our partnership, both bilaterally and through NATO. We continue working together on many areas of common concern and shared responsibility. We especially appreciate Estonia's role in Afghanistan. And we also commend Estonia for working through humanitarian assistance, not only in Afghanistan but in other countries such as Georgia and Moldova.
"And thank you again, foreign minister, for your support for disaster relief in Haiti and the outpouring of private donations from the Estonian people is evidence of this country's generous spirit and commitment to helping others in need."
The Secretary continued, "We discussed our very deep concern about security in Europe, and I feel strongly that we are allies in NATO and the principal purpose of NATO is collective security as embodied in Article 5. Estonia has contributed to global security and peacekeeping operations, and the idea of mutual security really will be at the heart of our discussions over the next two days. But let me be clear. Our commitment to Estonia and our other allies is a bedrock principle for the United States and we will never waver from it.
"We believe that there continues to be the importance of the open door for NATO to welcome new members because Estonia's experience is a testament to the value that new members bring to NATO.
"I also want to commend Estonia for being known in many circles as E-stonia, the most connected nation in the world, and thank you for providing valuable technology training from Mongolia to Afghanistan. We think that there's a lot that Estonia can do to help other countries realize the benefits of technology.
"So again, thank you for this warm welcome. And I look forward to our discussions and I appreciate greatly the opportunity to be back in Tallinn and wish that I could have kept my original schedule, which included meeting with many Estonians, including young people. But I hope I'll have another excuse to do that in the future."
Read the Secretary's full remarks here.