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Minister of the Interior, Mart Helme: Security-related cooperation was the main topic at US meetings

12. February 2020 - 10:53
During a meeting at the Drug Enforcement Administration, the mutual wish to engage in intense cooperation in combating narcotics was reaffirmed: Minister of the Interior, Mart Helme and Drug Enforcement Administration's deputy director Preston L. Grubb

According to Minister of the Interior Mart Helme, who has returned from a visit to the United States, his meetings with US colleagues were businesslike and provided a confirmation of our countries’ readiness for cooperation. During his trip to the United States, Helme visited the FBI Academy and met with leaders of drug enforcement, representatives of the Department of Justice and various think tanks. Mart Helme also took part in the National Prayer Breakfast.


The Minister thanked the FBI Academy for its contribution in training Estonian experts. “Increasing importance is being attached at the Academy to international cooperation, and therefore they are planning to increase the number of foreign students. For us this is extremely positive news, of course. They are also planning new courses on the subject of new technologies, which among other things include 5G,” Mart Helme said. Helme was hosted at the FBI Academy by Renae McDermott, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Training Division, with whom the Minister of the Interior is scheduled to meet next in Tallinn already this autumn.


During a meeting at the Drug Enforcement Administration, the mutual wish to engage in intense cooperation in combating narcotics was reaffirmed. „I was pleased to hear the Drug Enforcement Administration's deputy director Preston L. Grubb confirm that Estonia is one of their best cooperation partners, because our people act quickly and efficiently and adhere to agreements,” Helme said. In addition, long-term cooperation topics such as the upward trend in the use of fentanyl as well as cocaine, the results of legalising cannabis and addressing the results thereof, were discussed. “In the United States cannabis use has been legalised in several states and they have a good overview of what it has led to. Cooperation and learning from each other on this matter will continue also in the future.”


Mart Helme also visited the strategic studies think tank Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where he heard a speech by Attorney General William Barr on the clout of China in the field of 5G and had a brief meeting with Barr. Later on, the Minister of the Interior also met with other officials from the Department of Justice in a more businesslike atmosphere. “It was a very substantive meeting in which we, among other things, followed up on the topics of China and concerns related to 5G dealt with by Barr in his speech. While we would like to act in unison with the United States on 5G, we also have to keep in mind what the developments are in the European Union, as it is customary in Europe to find a consensus on different topics,” the Minister of the Interior explained. The meeting also included a longer discussion of the fight against money laundering, and the US Department of Justice demonstrated its readiness to share its experience with us.


As a follow-on to the National Prayer Breakfast, Minister Helme met in the Congress with several members of the House of Representatives, including Steve Scalise, Robert P. Aderholt, Ron Estes and others, with whom he talked about The Three Seas Initiative, exchanged ideas about China and held a discussion on topics of general security, and cyber security in particular.


In total, the National Prayer Breakfast had over 3,000 participants, from both the United States and elsewhere around the world. Members of both houses of the US Congress also took part in the National Prayer Breakfast. Among others, President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave a speech. Reconciliation and religious freedom were the main topics of the Prayer Breakfast.