Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction

The general principles of the Estonian Internal Security Service underline the following (2004):

"The security of Estonia is directly related to the trends in the international security environment. Changes in the international security environment have brought along new unconventional security threats, such as international terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In the context of diminished direct military threats the unconventional threats, and first of all the global nature of international terrorism as well as the proliferation of chemical, biological and radioactive or nuclear weapons, have set new serious challenges for international cooperation. Estonia does everything to prevent weapons of mass destruction from coming into the possession of terrorists and to identify and neutralise possible sources of financing for international terrorism.

Estonia does not possess weapons of mass destruction and it has acceded to the main international non-proliferation treaties. Estonia has set itself the aim of preventing illegal transit of components used for manufacturing weapons of mass destruction and possible illicit trafficking through its territory. It is also important to prevent the production of components used for manufacturing weapons of mass destruction or the manufacturing of the means of production thereof in Estonia as well as relevant know-how distribution. To this effect the law provides a national strategic goods control system, coordinated inter-agency operations and extensive international cooperation, including the exchange of data. The activities of Estonia are in compliance with the principles of international export control and EU directives.

Alongside national-level activities the security authorities enhance also international cooperation in regard to the suppression of terrorism, first and foremost to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and to identify and neutralise possible sources of financing for international terrorism."

In the context of counter-terrorism combat it is alarming that the states associated with aiding terrorism are attempting to acquire nuclear weapons and through them the weapons of mass destruction could come into the possession of terrorist organisations. Nevertheless, the threat that nuclear weapons might get into the hands of terrorists in the near future is still small since terrorist organisations do not possess such financial means which would enable them to procure nuclear weapons. However, terrorists have already acquired the somewhat cheaper biological and chemical weapons, which can be illustrated by anthrax letters and ricin detected in England in 2002.

Currently there is still no threat of the use of weapons of mass destruction in Estonia, though the probability remains that Estonia is attempted to be used as a transit state for the transportation of weapons of mass destruction or the components thereof. The first concern here is the big base of weapons of mass destruction located in Russia where the performance of inspection is sometimes inadequate. To eliminate threats of this kind, the Estonian Internal Security Service cooperates tightly with foreign partner services and collects information about persons who might be interested in or associated with illicit trafficking of strategic or dual-use goods.