Estonia believes that the most important part of the agreement on joining NATO is article 5, which stipulates collective defence of Alliance members. The statement was issued in a letter from Estonian Foreign Minister Kristiina Ojuland. The letter was presented to NATO Secretary General George Robertson at a ceremony where NATO countries signed an enlargement protocol in Brussels.
The government-approved letter says that Estonia is ready to become a member of NATO and meet all of the commitments outlined in the Washington treaty of 1949 on the establishment of the Alliance. The letter assures NATO members that Estonia will take part in the NATO military system and defence planning and send troops for military mission when necessary. Estonia pledges to assign sufficient funds for meeting its commitments and to pay dues to the NATO civil and defence budgets and the investment programme, the letter reads. The foreign minister also included a schedule of Estonian reforms with the letter. “This is a politically binding document that aims to assure NATO member countries that Estonia will continue to work for the benefit of the allies,” the document says.
The protocol signed at NATO’s conference invites Estonia and six other Baltic and East European countries to join the Alliance. NATO Secretary General George Robertson said in Estonia that this would be the largest expansion in the Alliance’s history. As soon as NATO members ratify the enlargement protocol, candidates will be expected to ratify the Washington treaty and its supplements.