U.S. and Estonia commit to cooperation in Baltic region

United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with the Minister of Defense of Estonia, Urmas Reinsalu, on Monday at the Pentagon and expressed his desire to continue working together toward regional security.

Hagel commended Reinsalu for Estonia's commitment to aid Afghanistan in reestablishing its stability as a nation. Estonia contributed to Afghanistan's well being by helping it secure the Helmand Province, and continues to be an ally to the nation.

Hagel and Reinsalu discussed mutual interests regarding the Baltic States. Both nations are committed to working together to modernize defense tactics, improve cyber defense and support regional security, regional cooperation and interoperability with ally states in the Baltic region.

Hagel commended Reinsalu for Estonia's defense budget. The country is committed to investing in the defense sector and has kept a significant budget available for investment in defense technology.

Hagel affirmed the United States' commitment to maintain its alliance to the region. Hagel also reaffirmed the United States' commitment to continue to participate in and contribute to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Hagel told Reinsalu that the U.S. would continue participating in NATO exercises to improve the interoperability the organization has created over the last 20 years.