Baltic Defense Ministers Vow Stronger Cooperation for NATO Membership

Published December 19th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Defense ministers from the three Baltic states agreed Tuesday to strengthen their cooperation in defense issues and to intensify efforts in preparing a common policy on NATO integration. 

The Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian defense ministers -- Jurij Luik, Girtis Valdis Kristovskis and Linas Linkevicius -- signed a joint statement at the end of a two-day meeting in the Lithuanian resort town Palanga. 

In the communiqué, the three ministers declared their determination to contribute to strengthening the European Union security and defense identity and in the creation of EU military forces. 

Speaking at a briefing, Linkevicius said that he and his two counterparts agreed that NATO membership for any of the three candidate countries would be a victory for all the rest, the Baltic news service reported. 

Kristovskis said that each of the Baltic countries should work hard to prepare for NATO integration, but that it was also important to work together in defining common goals. 

The three ministers also signed a memorandum on establishing a BALTNET training center in air control and surveillance in Karmelava, Lithuania, and to consider a new multilateral BALTWING project aiming at establishing joint military air transport squadrons -- VILNIUS (AFP)  



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