French Ambassador to Estonia Claudia Delmas-Scherer (1st L), British Secretary of State for Defense Michael Fallon (2nd L), Estonian Minister of Defense Margus Tsahkna (2nd R) and Danish Minister of Defense Claus Hjort Frederiksen (1st R) attend the ceremony to mark the beginning of services of the NATO battalion battle group at the Tapa Army Base in northern Estonia, on April 20, 2017. The NATO forces in Estonia on Thursday held a flag-raising ceremony and a military parade to mark the beginning of its services in the Baltic country. (Xinhua/Sergei Stepanov)
TALLINN, April 20 (Xinhua) -- The NATO forces in Estonia on Thursday held a flag-raising ceremony and a military parade to mark the beginning of its services in the Baltic country.
At the Tapa Army Base in northern Estonia, about 1,200 troops from Britain, France, Denmark, and Estonia participated in the event, which was attended by British Secretary of State for Defense Michael Fallon, Danish Defense Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen and Estonian Defense Minister Margus Tsahkna, said the Estonian Ministry of Defense in a statement.
Tsahkna termed the ceremony as a symbol of "NATO's resolve and unity", which was followed by the signing of a declaration about the establishment of NATO's enhanced Forward Presence in Estonia by the three defense ministers and the French Ambassador to Estonia Claudia Delmas-Scherer.
Also present were Estonia President Kersti Kaljulaid, who met Fallon at the Office of the President in Tallinn on bilateral defense cooperation and regional security situation, and Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas, who said in a statement that the presence of allied forces shows NATO's unity and enhances Estonia's confidence on security.
At the Warsaw Summit in July 2016, 28 leaders of NATO Member Nations decided to establish an enhanced Forward Presence in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
For the 1200-strong NATO battalion battle group in Estonia, Britain is contributing more than 800 troops, while France, 300 troops.
The French unit will serve in Tapa for eight months, after that, it will be rotated by the Danish unit, said the Estonian Ministry of Defense.