Eesti in brief - 2006-04-12

  • 2006-04-12
A breakthrough in cooperation between Estonian and Russian law enforcement agencies has been made, Interior Minister Kalle Laanet said after returning from a visit to Moscow. Russia's eagerness for cooperation with Estonian law enforcers was obvious, he added. When accepting his duties as minister, Laanet set two aims for himself 's to warm up law enforcement relations with the United States and Russia. "It can now be said that both aims have been reached," he said. Laanet and his Russian counterpart, Rashid Nurgaliyev, signed a joint-action protocol against terrorism and crime while in Moscow.

Estonia is applying for membership in the UN Human Rights Council during the years 2012-2014, spokespeople for the Foreign Ministry said. Setting their goal for this period, the representatives said, would allow Estonia to better plan its membership. The first elections to the newly established council, which will consist of 47 members of the UN, will be held at the General Assembly session on May 9. Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Russia, among others, have announced their wish to run for membership of the new body. The new council was established on March 15, 2006 with 170 votes for and four against, replacing the 53-strong UN Human Rights Commission based in Geneva.

Estonia will increase its military personnel in Afghanistan to 120 by the end of this year, with the first 20-strong group comprising EOD and military observation teams to leave for southern Afghanistan in two weeks, Eesti Paevaleht reported. After the first group's departure, a much bigger team will head for Afghanistan in the second half of June. Estonia and Britain are scheduled to sign a memorandum of mutual understanding that will set out in detail how the Estonian soldiers will serve alongside a British contingent.

During a Swedish Radio Ekot newscast on April 10, Justice Minister Rein Lang suggested calling an international committee of Swedish, Estonian and Finnish representatives to further investigate what caused the Estonia ferry to sink. "It is an initiative of the Estonian government, but we wish that the Swedish and Finnish governments should approve it, because it is a joint investigation committee," Lang said. Development Minister Mona Sahlin, who is responsible for issues concerning the ferry, could not say whether Sweden supported Lang's proposal. But Sahlin has hinted that the answer was hopeful.