Eesti in brief - 2006-04-05

  • 2006-04-05
The Center Party said it would not back Social Democrat Toomas Hendrik Ilves' candidacy for president. "If he's going to run, good luck to him," deputy head of Center's parliamentary faction Lauri Laasi said about Ilves on TV3 evening news. According to the news program, the Center Party could name the head of the State Auditor's Office, Mihkel Oviir, as one of its presidential candidates. Laasi neither confirmed nor denied this information. There was talk that Ilves' candidacy might broker an agreement between different parties since his name was floated by the Reform Party. The Reform's other candidates are Population Minister Paul-Eerik Rummo and the Tartu Mayor Laine Janes.

Interior Minister Kalle Laanet and his Russian counterpart, Rashid Nurgaliyev, signed in Moscow a protocol on joint actions against terrorism and crime. The cooperation protocol for 2006-07 lays down the principles of cooperation between the two countries' interior ministries. The ministers, who will meet twice a year according to the protocol, also decided to set up a bilateral working group that will, among other things, prepare ministerial meetings. As Laanet explained, it is still undecided whether Estonia will send a police officer or an Interior Ministry official to Moscow in the capacity of a liaison officer.

Estonia and France signed an agreement under which young specialists from both nations can work in the other country. The agreement was signed by French European Affairs Minister Catherine Colonna and Foreign Minister Urmas Paet. Colonna said that Prime Minister Andrus Ansip would visit Paris on May 29, and the French foreign minister would pay a visit to Estonia this summer.

Mona Sahlin, the Swedish minister responsible for issues connected with the wreck of the ferry Estonia, said the effective agreement on graveyard peace was no obstacle to diving to the wreck. Sahlin told the Swedish media that if Estonia wanted an additional investigation into the sinking of the ferry, Sweden would not prevent it. "The agreement on graveyard peace was signed in order to protect the wreck from looters, not in order to prevent further investigations if they should be necessary," Sahlin said. But Sahlin added that Estonian authorities had so far not expressed their wish to launch a new inquiry into the ferry disaster. "If the Estonian government takes contact with the Swedish government, which they haven't done until the present, and say that they want to go on with an investigation, we will not obstruct them in any way," Sahlin said.

Three Estonian citizens were killed and two were injured in a road accident in Latvia over the weekend. The accident happened around 7 p.m. in the town of Straupe in Cesis County as the Estonians' Volkswagen Passat drove off the road while overtaking another vehicle and overturned. Of the five passengers, three were killed and two were injured, Latvian police told the Baltic News Service.