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Immediate Release

Readout of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter's meeting with Estonian Minister of Defense Hannes Hanso

Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook provided the following readout:

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Estonian Minister of Defense Hannes Hanso met today at the Pentagon to discuss the U.S.- Estonia defense relationship.

Secretary Carter thanked Minister Hanso for Estonia's support for operations in Afghanistan, Africa, the Balkans, and importantly its support for the coalition's counter-ISIL campaign. The secretary underscored the importance of accelerating the defeat of ISIL and expressed appreciation to Minister Hanso for Estonia's willingness to consider sending trainers to support the Iraqi Security Forces later this year.

Secretary Carter and Minister Hanso discussed Russia's destabilizing activities in Europe, including the Baltic region, and the continued threat posed by this concerning behavior. They discussed the upcoming NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland and the importance of enhancing allies' readiness to address and deter threats across NATO's Eastern and Southern flanks. Secretary Carter reinforced the United States' enduring and ironclad commitment to Estonia's security, as demonstrated through the increasing U.S. force presence in Europe, the European Reassurance Initiative, and the robust schedule of joint military exercises in the region.

Secretary Carter thanked Minister Hanso for hosting U.S. and NATO forces in Estonia, and Estonia's leadership in consistently meeting NATO's defense spending goal. The two agreed to strengthen cooperation on a range of fronts, in particular on defensive cyber capabilities through the Tallinn-based NATO-accredited Cyber Defense Center of Excellence and on defense industrial activities.