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Obama visits nervous Baltic states

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Obama visits nervous Baltic states

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US President Barack Obama is on his way to Estonia, after which he will attend the NATO summit in Wales at the end of the week.

A massive security operation is underway in the Estonian capital Tallinn, ahead of President Obama’s meetings with the presidents of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, all ex-Soviet states nervously eyeing events in Ukraine.

Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas, said: “I do believe that President Obama will send a strong signal that NATO and the United States are taking this region’s security very seriously and I think this is a very important and very timely message.”

Estonia’s prime minister has called for a more visible NATO presence in Eastern Europe, and suggested that there should be NATO bases in all NATO member countries. “I think all of Europe has realised that the security situation has changed and this is not just a temporary change,” he said.

“We’re not talking about tens of thousands of permanently stationed troops in our country any time soon, this is not the goal. We’re talking about a clear and visible presence here,” Roivas said.

At the NATO summit Baltic states are expected to press for some kind of deployment of NATO troops, building on increased air patrols already announced by NATO this year.