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Baltic trio want to shout at NATO until they are heard2008-12-02 09:43
The presidents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia met on the outskirts of Tallinn. And unanimously decided to defend Georgia, striving for it to join NATO.
"We probably haven't made the most of every opportunity to work together," Lithuania's President Valdas Adamkus told journalists. "But now we will make every effort for our voices to be heard as a single voice, especially when suggestions are being put forward and decisions being taken on the situation in the South Caucasus."
The Baltic states have decided that it will be easier to make Europe hear them if all three shout together. Admittedly, Adamkus did make the reservation that their three-way efforts to obtain a MAP (Membership Action Plan for joining NATO) for Georgia at the December summit in Brussels could end up being futile.
"In December it would almost be a miracle, considering the situation now both in Georgia and in Ukraine. I know that it probably won't happen, but this does not release them from the need to meet all the demands placed before them, and us from the need to support Kyiv and Tbilisi. By April next year progress will possibly have been made, and these countries will have received an invitation into the alliance."
Adamkus is being slightly cunning. In actual fact, the Baltic trio attaches far more importance to its collective prayer to NATO asking it to defend Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia against Russia.
Not so long ago at an informal meeting of representatives of the NATO member states devoted to the consequences of the Caucasian crisis, the leaders of the three Baltic states asked NATO to devise a plan for defending them against possible Russian aggression.
Most of Europe viewed this as blackmail. Germany's representative said that he did not believe that Russian tanks were just about to head for Riga or Vilnius. Berlin stressed that leafing through maps in the staff headquarters and carrying out a few manoeuvres was clearly not enough to fend off the Russians along the whole front. Defence infrastructure instead needed to be created costing billions of dollars. It was politely suggested that the Baltic states look for this money themselves.
The authorities in the three republics began to panic somewhat. Admittedly, the leaders of the alliance did after all start to devise a plan for defending Eastern Europe. But this looked more like a war game with uncertain prospects. And the anxiety of the alliance's new recruits is unsurprising, since they are afraid that they will have to try to fend off the Russians without Europe's help.
Consequently, Estonia's former ambassador to Russia Mart Helme reported that he did not believe that NATO would help. In his opinion, if the Russians do decide to attack the Baltic states, even their Polish and Czech friends will perhaps get away with just making another round of irate declarations. Therefore they urgently need to create their own mini-NATO. And immediately try to neutralize the fifth column - local Russians.
Local experts claim that Tallinn and Riga have already become a field of operation for active espionage by Russia. Its agents living in the Baltic states can freely cross the border with their Eastern neighbour. Combining intelligence work with subversion, fanning the flames of separatism.