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TALLINN, January 20 (Itar-Tass) —— Estonia is ready to enlarge its financial contribution to the NATO mission protecting the airspace of the three Baltic republics, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves told NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Friday.
“Estonia exemplary fulfills its commitments to the alliance and is ready to consider a large financial contribution to the airspace security project,” he said. Estonia is the only Baltic republic, which honors the informal agreement to assign no less than 2% of GDP for this goal.
“The Baltic airspace is the NATO airspace. Only NATO fighters deployed on Baltic airfields can protect it,” Ilves said.
NATO fighters patrolling the airspace of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were deployed at the Lithuanian airbase Zokniai in 2004. Since 2009 Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn have been covering the accommodation expenditures of the NATO servicemen. They started covering the expenditures in the transportation of NATO servicemen and their equipment in 2010. The mission is so far scheduled to last through 2014. The Baltic countries request to make a long-term project.
Rasmussen said in Vilnius on Thursday that a general decision to that effect might be made at the NATO summit in May.