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2019.11.20 11:00

Estonian minister claims Baltics prepping ‘plan B’ to NATO, sparking criticism

BNS, LRT.lt2019.11.20 11:00

Estonian opposition has demanded the firing of Interior Minister Mart Helme following his comments doubting NATO and claiming Estonia is working together with the other Baltic states in drawing up a “plan B”.

According to Helme from the conservative EKRE party, Estonia is preparing its position for the NATO summit in London. “We’re also preparing a plan on what Estonia and other Baltic states will do, if Macron’s words prove to be correct,” and NATO shows it’s unable to defend the Baltic states, said the minister.

"I don't want to say that Macron is 100 percent telling the truth when he says that NATO is brain-dead, but it is clear that NATO has a problem," Helme told ltalehti, according to ERR News.

According to ERR News, Helme said Estonia cannot expect that NATO will ensure the country’s sovereignty in any situation.

Helme was criticised by the Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, Defence Minister Jüri Luik, coalition partners Isamaa (Homeland), Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu and the Estonian parliament’s foreign affairs committee chief, Enn Eesmaa.

On Wednesday, Helme issued a statement claiming his words were misinterpreted by the Finnish daily.

“I have not said anything implying that our government is working together with our neighbors to find an alternative to NATO,” according to ERR News which published Helme’s statement in full.

“My message, however, has always been – and I will maintain this as minister – that an independent people and state must also be capable of defending themselves.”