At a regular session held in Tallinn, the interparliamentary Baltic Assembly adopted a resolution calling for accelerated steps toward security cooperation among the three countries, coordination among their national defense forces, and the creation of common military structures, in preparation for a Baltic defensive alliance. But the assembly stopped short of endorsing a proposed defense union with an integrated military organization. In another major resolution the Assembly called on the Council of Europe (CE) and its Parliamentary Assembly to condition Russia’s admission to the CE on a commitment to respect the Baltic states’ independence and sovereignty and to refrain from using or threatening to use force against them. The Assembly also endorsed plans to abolish customs between the three countries, and supported the project to build the Via Baltica modern highway linking the three countries (as a section of the projected Baltic highway from Germany to Finland). Lithuania took over from Estonia the rotating chairmanship of the Assembly. (12)
The Baltic Assembly is an interparliamentary body designed to promote political and legislative cooperation among the Baltic states. The idea of a defense union of the three countries, proposed by Estonian army commander, Lt. General Alexander Einseln, was supported at the three army commanders’ meeting in Jurmala, Latvia November 28-29, and was endorsed by Latvian president Guntis Ulmanis. But Lithuanian army commander, Lt. General Jonas Andriskevicius, backtracked after returning home, as Lithuania’s Foreign and Defense ministries cold-shouldered the idea. Defense Minister Linas Linkevicius in particular has come out against any step or project that in his view would sidetrack Lithuania from its goal of joining NATO.
Einseln Replaced, Kaitsellit Gets Key Role.