Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves believes that under the current conditions, the Russia- NATO Founding Act from 1997 is obsolete, as he stated in the interview with Eesti Päevaleht.
According to him, the agreement provided for a permanent but limited presence of NATO forces in the newly formed states of the former Soviet Union, but it did not envision the current security situation.
“It includes language that under the current and expected security situation the permanent forces will not be deployed in the territories of the new states. It was believed at the time that large forces – no more than one brigade per state - were not needed. In addition, 20 years ago, the security situation in 2016 was not foreseen,” the President noted.
“So, yes, the narrow interpretation of the agreement is quite strange,” he concluded.
Ilves is in favor of а restrictive policy against Russia. “It was said at the Munich Conference that a dialogue with Russia can only be developed when such policies are implemented. I have repeatedly said that the dialogue is not a policy, but restriction is a policy,” he emphasized.
The President of Estonia suggested that Russia is undermining the world foundations of security through its actions in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. “And at the same time, it is undermining Europe as well. What is the result of the bombardments in Syria? An influx of refugees. People are running away from Aleppo to Turkey, and that also means that again, 200,000 refugees are fleeing to Greece,” Ilves said.
According to him, “in every State, the extreme right-wing anti-Europeans, who are often anti-American as well, are raising their heads... Le Pen, the AFD in Germany; they are all saying, down with the EU, down with the U.S.A., down with NATO, down with homosexuals. They are all against European tolerance and integration,” the President of Estonia stated.
The Head of State noted that such elements also exist in his country. “Maybe, they are a bit less against the U.S.A., but they do exist. So yes, I’m concerned,” Ilves stated.