The Baltic Times, 9 May 2017
TALLINN – Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian defense ministers are to meet with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis in Vilnius on Wednesday.
It is the first visit of such a high-level U.S. defense visit in the Baltic region. The topics to be discussed at the meeting between the four defense ministers are defense cooperation and the security situation in the Baltic region.
“The visit of James Mattis to our region shows that we have allies and that the defense cooperation between the U.S. and Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is strong,” Estonian Defense Minister Margus Tsahkna said.
After a work lunch, the ministers are to visit the General Silvestras Zukauskas training area in Pabrade where they will meet with representatives of the U.S. and Lithuanian defense forces as well as the NATO battle group stationed in Lithuania.
The United States is one of the most important strategic partners and allies in assuring the peace of Estonia as well as the other two Baltic countries. As of 2014, the military presence of the U.S. in the Baltic countries has substantially increased in connection with the changed security situation in Europe.