The protocol, signed during Loodus's visit to the Russian regional capital Pskov, not far from the Estonian border, sets out the terms of cooperation between the interior ministries next year in the fight against crime in border regions, plans for information exchange, and contacts in the training of specialists, a spokesman for the Interior Affairs Department of the Pskov region said.
"For criminals the notions of nationality and state border don't exist, and crime can be fought efficiently only in close cooperation with neighboring countries," Loodus said before his departure, according to the Interior Ministry press office in Tallinn.
The minister said Estonia was engaged in close cooperation with Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden and Finland and that now the opportunity opened up for closer cooperation with Russia.
During their meeting Aug. 31, the Estonian and Russian interior ministers briefed each other about the structures and functions of their respective ministries and discussed stepping up cooperation in all fields governed by the ministries.
As a separate issue, the Estonian delegation raised the topic of an agreement on the handover of convicts.
Loodus will also meet with the regional police chief and high-ranking officials of the regional administration during his stay in Pskov.
To further the cause of Baltic cooperation in fighting crime, the interior ministers of Russia and the three Baltic states will meet in Riga on Oct. 6, Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo told reporters after a meeting with his Estonian counterpart Tarmo Loodus.
Rushailo said he highly appreciated cooperation between the law enforcement authorities of Estonia and Russia's border regions, but added that such joint activity should be brought to the national level, Interfax news agency reported.
Rushailo spoke to the Estonian minister about the dynamics of the crime rate in Russia, saying that in the first seven months of this year crimes committed in Russia had declined by 2.2 percent. The number of crimes rated as very grave or grave were down eight percent from the same period a year ago.
The Russian minister said he understands that crime in Russia can be curbed only through joint efforts with other countries.