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Archive for Estonia

Newsline: Estonia’s top diplomat denies plans to close Russian embassy

Estonia has no plans to expel all Russian diplomats or close the Russian embassy, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said. “Though both Estonia and Russia have taken steps to reduce the numbers of diplomats in their countries, there are currently no plans to expel or recall all diplomats from both countries,” the ERR news website quoted Reinsalu as saying. “Our embassy [in Moscow] will stay. We have no plans to liquidate the Russian embassy on the territory of Estonia, and Russia has not voiced such intentions either,” the minister said. (https://interfax.com/newsroom/top-stories/87249/) There is now no point in speaking about the termination of diplomatic relations between the two countries, “because Estonia needs its representation in Moscow for pragmatic reasons,” he said.

Newsline: Estonia summons Russian ambassador

Estonia on Wednesday summoned the Russian ambassador and formally protested about the violation of its airspace by a Russian helicopter on Tuesday, the foreign ministry said. “Estonia considers this an extremely serious and regrettable incident that is completely unacceptable,” the ministry said in a release, saying the helicopter had flown over a point in the southeast of the small Baltic nation without permission. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-08-10/estonia-protests-to-russia-about-unacceptable-violation-of-its-airspace) Estonia made a similar complaint to Moscow in June.

Newsline: United States plans to relocate Tallinn embassy

The United States Embassy in Estonia is planning to move from its current location in Kentamanni Street in central Tallinn, to a site on the corner of Väike- and Suur-Ameerika, behind the so-called superministry. Speculation on if, when and where the embassy would move has been ongoing for several years. Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) confirmed that the U.S. Embassy has expressed an interest in moving to the site and plans to do so, ERR’s online news in Estonian reports. “The government decided the transfer of the properties to the [state real estate firm] RKAS. This is quite a technical decision by its nature, but is actually very important because it addresses real estate questions concerning both the U.S. and Estonia’s embassies, in Tallinn and Washington respectively,” Reinsalu commented. (https://news.err.ee/1110789/united-states-plans-to-relocate-tallinn-embassy) “The U.S. Embassy has been looking for an alternative location in Tallinn for years and now there’s hope that we manage to find the solution between the countries step-by-step. The discussions about the embassy building on Suur-Ameerika street are in the works.” Estonia in turn will look for a permanent solution for plans to extend their embassy territory in the United States. Their current embassy is under renovation and Estonia is now after rooms which would be assigned as residence of the ambassador, allowing for receptions to be conducted in the U.S., making this deal a real estate trade between the two countries.

Newsline: Ghana police declare 3 Nigerians wanted over kidnapping of diplomat

The Ghana Police Service has declared three Nigerians wanted over the alleged kidnap of the Consular – General and Head of Mission of Estonia to the West African country. Popular Accra-based radio station Starr FM reported that police rescued the 61-year-old foreign envoy after he was reportedly kidnapped in the early hours of Thursday, April 18 while on his regular morning walk in the nation’s capital city Accra. (https://www.legit.ng/1234656-ghana-police-declare-3-nigerians-wanted-alleged-kidnapping-diplomat.html) According to the report, the diplomat was rescued on Friday, April 19 by a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team following a tip off.

Newsline: Estonia reopens embassy in Hungary

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reopened the Estonian embassy in Budapest. The ministry announced the step on social media on Monday, saying that starting 5 November the embassy is offering consular services again. The embassy is providing consular services and assistance starting 5 November. Anyone who would like their documents issued there can indicate so on the application form, the ministry said. Consular services are available by advance appointment. The ministry previously closed the embassy in Budapest in July 2014 following the closing of the Hungarian embassy in Tallinn. The latter was replaced by a diplomatic representation at the Hungarian Culture Institute in Tallinn at the time.


Newsline: Hungary to Reopen Embassy in Tallinn

Hungary will reopen its embassy in Tallinn, according to a government resolution published in the official gazette Magyar Közlöny. The Hungarian embassy in Tallinn is set to reopen on Sept. 23. The government announced the closure of the Tallinn embassy in July 2014, but has kept the Hungarian cultural institute in the Estonian capital running. The government has also decided to open consulates-general in Manchester and Innsbruck later this year, according to the resolution.


Newsline: US ambassador to Estonia resigns ‘over Trump comments’

The US ambassador to Estonia is resigning, reportedly in frustration at remarks made by President Donald Trump about America’s European allies. James D Melville revealed in a Facebook post that Mr Trump’s comments had brought forward his decision to retire, Foreign Policy magazine reported. The US president has imposed trade tariffs on some EU industries and strongly criticised Nato allies. In the private Facebook post seen by Foreign Policy, Mr Melville reportedly told friends: “For the president to say the EU was ‘set up to take advantage of the United States, to attack our piggy bank’, or that ‘Nato is as bad as Nafta [the North American Free Trade Agreement]’ is not only factually wrong, but proves to me that it’s time to go.” Mr Melville is a career diplomat and took up his position as ambassador in Estonia in 2015 after being nominated by then President Barack Obama. He had previously held senior diplomatic posts in several European countries and speaks Russian, German and French, according to his biography on the US State Department website. A State Department spokesperson confirmed Mr Melville’s departure on Friday, saying: “Earlier today, the United States’ Ambassador to Estonia, Jim Melville, announced his intent to retire from the Foreign Service effective July 29 after 33 years of public service.”


Newsline: Australia to open its first pop-up embassy in Tallinn

Austalia has decided to open its first so-called pop-up embassy in Tallinn, as discussed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE) and his Australian colleague Julie Bishop in New York on Thursday. “We are glad that Australia has decided to open its first so-called pop-up embassy in Tallinn, which will undoubtedly increase Australia’s visibility in Estonia as well as our region more broadly,” Mikser said according to a ministry press release. “An ambassador beginning work at the pop-up embassy will introduce new opportunities to the already constructive and close cooperation between our two countries,” he added. According to the Estonian minister, the experimental pop-up format for an embassy may end up leading to pilot projects for other countries as well. “Let’s hope that Australia’s positive example in its innovative pop-up embassy will encourage other countries to develop similar forms of cooperation in Estonia,” he said. A pop-up embassy is a diplomatic mission in which the ambassador does not work daily, but rather is on site as required.


Newsline: Estonia expels two Russian diplomats

Two senior Russian diplomats have been ordered to leave Estonia, the Russian embassy and Estonian Foreign Ministry have confirmed to RT, adding that they cannot give any further comment. Russia’s consul general in Narva, Dmitry Kazyonnov, and consul Andrey Surgaev were handed a note to leave the Baltic country on Friday. The Russian Foreign Ministry told RT it considers the expulsion of the diplomats “yet another unfriendly and absolutely groundless act.” Such actions from Tallinn “will not be left unanswered,” it added.


Newsline: Estonia Summons Russian Ambassador over Border ‘Abduction’

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.