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Eesti in brief - 2006-03-29

Mar 29, 2006

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet called enlargement one of the most successful projects of the European Union, adding that Estonia backed a continuation of the process. "Expansion definitely needs to be continued," Paet said in Brussels during a European Council meeting. "It makes no sense to look for artificial boundaries to the EU 's what is of primary importance is shared values and securing of positive developments."

Ambassador to Russia Marina Kaljurand said Estonia was not seeking to become a mono-ethnic country, and that stateless residents had every possibility to obtain citizenship. She told Vasily Lichachev, vice chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Russian Federation Council (Parliament's upper house), that stateless residents have become more eager to obtain citizenship since Estonia joined the EU. "Citizens and non-citizens have equal cultural and social rights. True, there are differences in political rights, but Estonia is one of the few countries in Europe where noncitizens can vote in local elections."

In preparation for acquiring a new icebreaker and rescue ship, the Maritime Administration is busy deciding what functions the multi-purpose ship should have. "In addition to icebreaking, the new ship should also be able to collect pollution, tow other ships and fight fires," said Tarmo Ots, head of the Maritime Administration foreign relations and information department. Once the administration decides on the ship's functions, the state will carry out a procurement for its technical specifications. At the moment, Estonia only has one 43-year-old icebreaker capable of working in the Gulf of Finland.

The Parnu city government will send a public letter to the defense minister and defense force commander, protesting against the closure of the Parnu Single Infantry Battalion. Deputy Mayor Raul Sarandi said that a public appeal to the Defense Minister Jurgen Ligi, a member of the Reform Party, and commander of the defense forces Vice Administrator Tarmo Kouts, was being prepared. Sarandi, of the right-wing Res Publica party, said the defense forces must be mistaken if they honestly wanted to get rid of the Parnu battalion.

Police have caught an underage man who is suspected of killing a girl in the town of Arukula, located outside Tallinn, last month. Officers of the North Police detained the man, born in 1989, who allegedly murdered the 16-year-old. The incident triggered a wave of indignation across the capital. North regional prosecutor Natalja Vester, who has been placed in charge of the case, said the young man had admitted the murder. The motive of the crime is not yet clear.
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