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Eesti in brief - 2006-05-24

May 24, 2006

Finnish and Swedish investigators have rebuffed a request by the Estonian Justice Ministry to discuss concerns over an inquiry into the 1994 sinking of the ferry Estonia. Justice Minister Rein Lang invited members of the original investigation committee to Tallinn to raise concerns about their report. The original investigation was challenged by victims' families as incomplete and inconclusive. Kari Lehtola, a Finnish member of the investigation committee, told newspapers that the sinking had already been thoroughly discussed and should not be re-examined. Swedish investigator Ann-Louise Eksborg said she would not attend the meeting because she had no information to add to the final report.

Two Estonian troop carriers in Afghanistan were destroyed on May 18 when a convoy carrying equipment from Kandahar to Helmand came under fire. The two armored personnel carriers were damaged beyond repair, the Estonian defense department said. No troops were injured in the attack. Estonia has committed four Pasi armored personnel carriers, five Unimog trucks, and 33 defense force members to the American-led operation. A further Estonian commitment, which involves more than 100 personnel, is scheduled for dispatchment later this year.

Parliamentarian Sven Mikser met with Afghani president Hamid Karzai last week to discuss security issues in Afghanistan. The Afghan leader noted that his country's security questions need to be approached on a regional basis. According to Karzai, the region should be viewed as a whole, and the situation in Pakistan, Iran and the Central Asian countries should not escape attention. He added that, although Afghanistan's security and economy are changing for the better, international support will be needed for a long time. Mikser, who represents Estonia at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, was part of an international delegation that visited the country from May 17 to 20.
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