DEFENCE : ESTONIA, NORWAY CONCERNED OVER WEAKENING TRANSATLANTIC TIES.

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In Washington to bolster transatlantic cooperation on military matters, the ministers of defence of Norway and Estonia echoed each other's concerns about a weakening of the transatlantic alliance. Chronic cuts in defence spending and the US shift in focus away from Europe and towards the Asia-Pacific were worrying developments given the growing assertiveness of Russia, they concluded. Speaking at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank, on 9 January, Norway's Ine Eriksen Soreide said she had come to show that "the US is our most important ally and we don't take you for granted". Despite Washington's so-called pivot to Asia, "we trust that the US will retain a robust presence in Europe," she said. However, after her meetings on Capitol Hill, she admitted she was not so sure this would happen. Closer to home, she said that Europe needed to maintain "credible defences" and "demonstrate that we are not merely...

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