Eesti in brief - 2008-05-22

  • 2008-05-22
Ambassador to China Andres Unga gave blood on May 15 for Chinese earthquake victims. The ambassador was the first member of the diplomatic corps in China to give 400 milliliters of blood during the six minute procedure. Unga told the Xinhua news agency that he has given blood 20 times in Estonia, but it was the first time that he became a donor in China. The Foreign Ministry allocated half a million kroons (32,000 euros) in support of the Chinese earthquake victims. Guo Weimin, a spokesman for the Chinese government, said that the number of victims of the worst earthquake in the country during the past thirty years had risen to nearly 29,000. The Chinese authorities have earlier said that the number of victims is expected to rise above 50,000. An estimated 4.8 million people are homeless.

Estonia is interested in buying 30 Pasi armored personnel carriers from Finland in addition to the existing 60 vehicles of the same type purchased in 2004. Martin Hurt, deputy secretary for defense investments, will visit Finland on May 26 to discuss the possible purchase of Pasi APCs and 122 millimeter howitzers. Defense Ministry Spokesman Peeter Kuimet pointed out that the APCs purchase is still in the preliminary negotiation stage and there have been no firm agreements made. Kuimet said that the previous purchase of the APCs had been for the Scouts Battalion and at present about 10 APCs have been taken to Afghanistan, where some of them have become useless in the course of warfare.

Presidents Toomas Hendrik Ilves of Estonia, Valdis Zatlers of Latvia, Valdas Adamkus of Lithuania and Lech Kaczynski of Poland met on May 22 in Riga to harmonize their countries' positions before an energy forum due to take place in Kiev. The energy forum will be a follow up to the similar forums held in Vilnius last year and the year before that. On the first day of the forum, issues will be discussed among the officials and members of business and academic circles.