Renewed: 20.10.2013, 21:12

15 October 2013 20:15

General Sir Houghton: Cooperation started in Afghanistan must continue

General Sir Houghton: Cooperation started in Afghanistan must continue General Sir Houghton: Cooperation started in Afghanistan must continue

On his first formal visit to Estonia, the United Kingdom Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nicholas Houghton and the Estonian Commander of Defence Forces, Major General Riho Terras confirmed that Estonia and the United Kingdom will continue their close cooperation after the cessation of operations in Afghanistan in 2014.

“In addition to the skills needed in ISAF operation we need to jointly develop further cooperation enabling individual defence capacity as well as fulfilling the NATO Article 5 collective defence commitments,“ Major General Terras said. The Commander of Defence Forces stressed the importance of the United Kingdom’s higher level military studies program provided to Estonian officers’ corps and the need to continue the initiative.

“Estonia has been a trust worthy partner in ISAF operations,” General Sir Houghton said. The United Kingdom has discussed the possibility of development a designated Multinational Joint Force. “The Joint Force would involve countries deployed in Southern Afghanistan that would be prepared to rapidly deploy to crisis areas world wide, when needed by NATO, European Union as well as other military operations.” According to General Houghton there are several details to be addressed prior to establishment of a Multinational Joint Force involving Estonia, Denmark, Holland and Canada, but the process is ongoing.

General Sir Houghton is the first Chief of Defence from the United Kingdom to formally visit Estonia. During his visit he also met with the President of the Republic Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, Defence Minister Urmas Reinsalu and Members of the Parliamentary Defence Committee.

This morning General Sir Houghton laid a wreath at the Estonian Independence War Memorial and visited mine-countermeasures ships acquired from United Kingdom. General Sir Houghton’s program also included a visit to the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence located in Tallinn.

General Sir Houghton started his duties as the Chief of Defence Staff this summer. Amongst other posts he has served as the Commander of the British forces in Iraq 2005-2006 after which he was promoted to Deputy Commanding General of Multi-National Force-Iraq.

The Defence Forces of Estonia and the United Kingdom share a long standing relationship since 2006 with ISAF operations in Afghanistan where Estonian infantrymen have been serving with British units. The UK and Estonia also have joint projects with the Air Force and medical services.

An infantry company (Kohima Coy 2 Lancs) from the United Kingdom participated in annual Kevadtorm exercise for the first time this year.

At the initiation of the United Kingdom, Civilian Military Cooperation (CIMIC) planning module will be taught at the Baltic Defence College starting next year. A British cyber expert is scheduled to start working at the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in near future.

Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces, 717 1900, mil[at], Juhkentali 58, EE15007, Tallinn, Estonia.

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