President Barack Obama will travel to Estonia early next month to reaffirm the United States’ commitment to defend NATO allies in a Baltic region nervous about Russia’s activities in Ukraine.
“In light of recent developments in Ukraine, the United States has taken steps to reassure allies in Central and Eastern Europe, and this trip is a chance to reaffirm our ironclad commitment to Article V as the foundation of NATO,” National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said in a statement Friday.
Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization calls for a “collective defense” of countries under the Cold War-era pact’s umbrella. An attack on one NATO country is considered an attack on all and NATO members are required to help each other in defense.
In Tallin, Obama will meet with Estonian President Toomas Ilves and Prime Minister Taavi Roivas “to discuss bilateral ties, strategic and regional cooperation, and our shared commitment to the trans-Atlantic partnership,” Hayden said.
Obama will also huddle with Latvian President Andris Berzins and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite “to discuss ongoing cooperation on regional security and policies that support economic growth, and to discuss collective defense,” Hayden added.
The meetings will take place before Obama attends a NATO summit in Wales Sept. 4-5.