Archive for Estonia
Estonia has summoned the Russian ambassador over what the Tallinn government says is the cross-border abduction of an Estonian intelligence officer operating on the Estonian side of the Russian border. The Estonian Foreign Ministry says the security officer was seized Friday by unknown gunmen and taken into Russian territory. Moscow says the man was operating on its side of the border and is suspected of being a spy. The incident comes at a time of rising tensions between Moscow and the NATO alliance, which includes the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. The Estonian Internal Security Service described the abducted officer as an anti-terrorism expert who was investigating cross-border crime when he was seized at gunpoint. The Russian Federal Security Service says the officer was armed and carrying more than $6,000, along with recording devices and other intelligence-gathering materials when detained.
Estonian embassy has been opened in Baku, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry reported. Charge d’Affaires of Estonia to Azerbaijan, Jaap Ora held a meeting at the ministry on August 29, the ministry said. During the meeting, Ora informed the Azerbaijani side on the embassy’s opening. Earlier, Estonia was represented in Azerbaijan through its embassy in Turkey. Azerbaijan has an embassy in Tallinn. Over 2,500 Azerbaijanis live in Estonia.
Estonia will close its embassy in Budapest, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet announced in Tallinn, saying this is the appropriate step. Hungary announced two weeks ago that it will close its embassies in Tallinn and Nicosia this year. The Estonian embassy will continue to function until September 30.
Officials from the British High Commission and the Estonia Embassy met the crew and guards of US ship MV Seaman Guard Ohio, at the Palayamkottai Central Prison in Tirunelveli. Prison sources said that that the foreign nationals were lodged at quarantine II in the prison. British High Commission representatives Petula James and Rhona Royle from Chennai and New Delhi respectively, and Margus Sarglepp from the Estonian Embassy in New Delhi, met the 23 members including six British, 14 Estonian and other foreign nationals. The embassy officials, however, avoided mediapersons waiting at the prison entrance. A prison official said that the visit had nothing to do with the legal aspect of the case and was in accordance with the protocol. Meanwhile, chief engineer of the ship Siderenko Valeriy is alleged to have enacted a suicide drama by covering his head with his shirt and holding the iron grills from outside the cell in the presence of prison guard. Earlier on Saturday, Siderenko Valeriy attempted suicide using a rope from the ship’s flagmast when the Q-branch police were conducting an inquiry. “We also advised the prison doctors to check his health condition on a regular basis,” said the official. The chief jail warder, jailor, deputy jailor and other guards are closely monitoring the movement of the inmates,” he added. Q-branch police arrested the 35 members including 10 crew members (eight Indians and two Ukraine nationals) and 25 armed guards (14 Estonians, six British nationals, four Indian and one Ukraine) of the ship under non-bailable sections and various provisions of the Arms Act, etc. They were remanded in 14 days’ judicial custody in the prison.
Diplomatic relations between Russia and Estonia have soured after the Baltic state’s consul general, Franek Persidski, was declared persona non grata by St. Petersburg authorities. The decision may represent a Russian tit-for-tat for an incident that took place in March. The Estonian newspaper Day by Day reported that Estonia had refused to grant visas to a group of young Russians who were on their way to Tallinn to participate in round-table discussions at The Baltic Dialogue 2013. “Franek Persidski has already returned to Estonia from the consulate general in St. Petersburg,” the Estonian Foreign Ministry told Interfax late Wednesday. “This is the Russian side’s response to an earlier decision made by the Estonia authorities.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet met his Brazilian and Colombian counterparts in Santiago, Chile and said that Estonia is planning to increase it’s diplomatic presence in the two nations. Paet told Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota that relations between the two nations have grown significantly closer and he soon hopes to open an embassy in Brazil, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Brazil already has an embassy in Tallinn while Estonia has honorary consulates in three of Brazil’s regions. In a meeting with Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Holguin Cuellar, Paet expressed a wish to find an honorary consul for Estonia in Colombia. Paet was in Chile to attend the EU-CELAC summit.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will close the Estonian Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria by the end of this year. The embassy’s closure memorandum foresees that the cancellation of contracts and staff reduction will gradually take place over the course of this year. The main reasons for the closure are that Estonian entrepreneurs have reportedly become less interested in Bulgarian business opportunities and the trade relations between the two nations have remained relatively modest since the embassy’s opening in 2006. According to embassy data, there are around 50 Estonian citizens permanently residing in Bulgaria, whose needs will be covered by the Estonian Honorary Consulate in Sofia.