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Eesti in brief - 2008-11-26

  • 2008-11-26
Within the past few months, Estonian casinos have fallen victim to several robberies. The most recent robberies occurred on Nov. 20 and 22. Early in the morning on Nov. 20, a masked man walked into the gaming hall of Grand Prix Casino in the center of Tallinn. He threatened the attendant with a weapon and took about 830 euro from the cashier's desk. Later that same weekend on Nov. 22, an unidentified man wearing a mask attacked a female attendant at around 7 a.m. in one of the casinos located in the biggest district of Tallinn, Lasnamae. In September two robberies were committed in the summer capital of Estonia, Parnu. Several more heists within October occurred in Tallinn. Until now police have detained only one suspect.

During a meeting in Tartu, the prime ministers of the Baltic countries have stressed the need to work out joint principles of air security. Prime Minister of Estonia Andrus Antsip, Ivars Godmanis of Latvia and Gediminas Kirkilas of Lithuania also discussed the issues of energy and questions on defense cooperation. They have agreed on the need to pass the principles of joint air space security solutions by 2018. Presently, the Baltic countries' agreement on air space security is in force until 2011, however all three countries applied for its extension for another seven years. Earlier this year, Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian defense ministers underlined a political instruction of air space analysis on the basis of which versions of the three countries' air space security after 2018 will be worked out.

During a visit to Kosovo, Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Antsip and commander of defense forces Lieutenant General Ants Laaneots have awarded NATO medals to Estonian soldiers serving the composition of a Danish battalion in Mitrovica. "Estonia's role in international cooperation is noticeable on missions to Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq alike, as well as previously in Bosnia and Herzegovina," said Ansip. He also thanked Estonian soldiers and said that they are brave and reliable partners who contribute also to their own country's security by helping countries that need assistance. Ansip highlighted the troops' example in strengthening defense, saying it is difficult to attack a country when there are people ready to take up arms in its defense and are prepared to sacrifice their lives if necessary. Estonian military forces are cooperating with Danish and French troops in the turbulent Mitrovica region in northern Kosovo. At the moment there are 30 soldiers serving at the NATO-led peace enforcement mission.
This is the first official visit of Estonian leaders to Kosovo since it became independent in February. Estonia recognized Kosovo's independence on Feb. 21 and established diplomatic relations with it on April 24.