The Earl of Carlisle
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Why the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Charles Guthrie, visited Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania; and whether, as a result of the visit, additional resources will be made available to assist the Baltic States in their quest to improve their defence capability and to join NATO. [HL3591]
§ The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert)
In response to invitations from their Chiefs of Defence, the UK Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Charles Guthrie, visited Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, from 6 to 8 July. The main aims of the visit were: to demonstrate the UK's continuing support for each country's programme of reform and reorganisation of its defence structures; to convey our support for the preparations they are making to implement the NATO Membership Action Plan, and to discuss developments in Kosovo.
The UK has well developed bilateral programmes of assistance in the defence field with each of the Baltic States. These are tailored to each country's own priorities and are designed to aid implementation of the Membership Action Plan. The UK is also committed to involvement in a range of multilateral defence projects with the Baltic States. We have no specific plans to make additional resources available as a direct result of General Guthrie's visit. We will, however, continue to keep our defence assistance programmes under review and will give positive consideration to specific requests for further help.