U.S. Homeland Security Department Assistant Secretary Richard Barth announced during a visit to Tallinn on Feb. 11 that visa requirements for Estonians travelling to the U.S. will be waived later this year. The move will require complementary close coordination between border and customs officials along with the justice departments of the two countries. Further rounds of negotiations will take place before the waiver comes into effect, which should occur either before the U.S. presidential elections in November or when the new administration takes office.
Estonia endorsed agreements with Finland and Latvia which will allow their respective representations abroad to issue Estonian travel visas. Finnish embassies and consulates will deal with Estonian visa requests in Indonesia, Nambia, Peru, the Philippines, Serbia, Syria, Thailand, Tanzania, Tunesia and the United Arab Emirates. Latvia will assist with applications emanating from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
Parliament endorsed barrister Indrek Teder as the next Chancellor of Justice as proposed by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves. The appointment be effective starting Mar. 7 after former chancellor Allar Joks steps down after his seven-year term. Teder is a member of the board of Teder, Glikman and Partners law office and sits on the Professional Suitability Assessment Committee of the Bar. He was approved with a total number of 80 votes against three against and one abstention.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet signed an accord with the International Criminal Tribunal on the Former Yugoslavia which will allow two convicted war criminals to serve their sentence in an Estonian prison. The agreement, helps to deal with overcrowding in European prisons. Prisoners might be chosen and arrive within a year and a half. The goverment will retain the option to decline certain prisoners selected for placement in Estonia.