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ERR News - At their meeting in Washington on March 27, Secretary of State of the US Hillary Clinton and Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that the two countries will co-chair a new working group that will support the development of new democracies. According to a Foreign Ministry press release, Clinton proposed to Paet that the countries jointly direct the new initiative - Leaders Engaged in New Democracies (LEND) - because Estonia's activities in supporting new democracies have been "visible and effective." 


Over the last 20 years Estonia has grown from a newly independent democracy to an important and respected voice in the international community, who the US considers an important ally, Clinton told Paet.

Clinton confirmed to Paet that the US continue to take their responsibilities to NATO very seriously, particularly the Article 5 obligation for collective defense, while Paet stressed the importance of giving a strong, positive message at the upcoming NATO summit to countries that want to get NATO membership in the foreseeable future, namely Georgia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Paet and Clinton also spoke about developments in Afghanistan beyond 2014. "Estonia is prepared to support Afghanistan's development with development co-operation and humanitarian aid when responsibility for security has been placed in the hands of the Afghan authorities for good," said Paet.  

Touching upon NATO's "smart defence" principle, which helps the organisation respond to changing priorities and reduced defence spending, Paet cited the air policing mission over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as a good example.




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