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Estonian minister hopes Baltic air policing mission base will move to Estonia

Pasikeitimo ceremonija
Tomo Lukšio/BFL nuotr. / .
Šaltinis: BNS

The Baltic Air Policing mission, currently based in Lithuania, should rotate in the future, Estonian Defense Minister Urmas Reinsalu says.

"The Estonian position clearly is that the air policing mission must start to rotate," the minister said in an interview to BNS.

Estonia had earlier said it would propose one of several rotations to be based at Amari Air Base in the future. The base should be operational in 2015.

Lithuania's Ministry of National Defense and the army are not inclined to back the Estonian initiative and want the mission to remain in Šiauliai, Lithuania.

"But we are now discussing smart defense. If we talk about smart investment by concentrating efforts and finances of several countries, we should look into this very seriously. Is there any point in duplicating the technical service, various projects?" Lithuania's Chief of Defense Lieutenant General Arvydas Pocius told 15min in May.

In early February, NATO decided to extend the Baltic Air Policing mission until 2014. Ambassadors then formally confirmed in Brussels that it would be a long-term mission with periodic reviews, while the Baltic nations committed themselves to increasing their contributions. The February document is confidential, but, according to information available to BNS, it says that the first mission review should take place after 2018.

NATO jets performing the mission are deployed in the Lithuanian Air Force Aviation Base in Šiauliai, northern Lithuania. The Baltic states do not have sufficient capacities to police their airspace. The mission is currently performed by Poland.

Naujienų agentūros BNS informaciją atgaminti visuomenės informavimo priemonėse bei interneto tinklalapiuose be raštiško UAB „BNS“ sutikimo draudžiama.
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