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The President of the Republic visited the North-East Border Guard District

President Arnold Rüütel visited the North-East Border Guard District.President Arnold Rüütel today visited the North-East Border Guard District on Estonia's eastern border and acquainted himself with Estonia's preparations for the accession to the Schengen area.

In the morning the head of state went by helicopter from Tallinn along northern coast to Narva where he acquainted himself with the Narva Border Station and visited the border checkpoint on the Kreenholm Pedestrian Bridge. In the Narva Border Station, Director General of the Board of the Border Guard colonel Roland Peets gave an overview of the main issues related to the current development of Estonia's border guard, among other things also programmes and use of the resources under the Schengen Facility. Commander of the North-East Border Guard District colonel Aimar Köss gave an overview of the current state of the command structure's optimisation and cooperation with the Boarder Guard of the Russian Federation, as well as the impact of the Schengen Facility and Phare programmes on the development of border guarding and the infrastructure. Chief of the Narva Border Guard Station captain Rein Steinfeld spoke about the organisation of the border guard service in their border section. The presentations demonstrated that the specialists draw a parallel between the accession to the Schengen area and the passing of university graduation exams, but the most serious obstacle of development is caused by the fact that not all posts are filled.

In the border checkpoint on Narva Pedestrian Bridge the President of the Republic acquainted himself with the new border facility that would be completed in August, and answered the questions of journalists. Thereafter the head of state went to the Mustajõe Border Station where he participated in the ceremony of laying the cornerstone for a new building of the border guard station that is built with the help of Phare funds. President Rüütel visited also the Alajõe Border Station and acquainted himself with the plans of a new Mustvee Border Station that is expected to be launched next year. The head of state ended the day with the visit to the Varnja Border Station on the western coast of Lake Peipsi where the specific features of lake border control were discussed.

According to the assessment given by the President of the Republic a lot of work has been done for the modernisation and updating of Estonia's border guard, and the opportunities that the Schengen Facility opened for us had played an important role in that. The head of state underlined that the system of motivation of border guard personnel and their social guarantees needed to be continuously supported. Among the tasks needing ever more attention in near future President Rüütel pointed out the necessity to help youth in Ida-Virumaa to find their way to the interesting profession of border guards that can offer a plenty of opportunities for development and would allow them to stay in their home region.

During today's visit Interior Minister Kalle Laanet and Ida-Viru, Jõgeva and Tartu county governors and heads of local governments accompanied the President of the Republic.

Tomorrow, on Tuesday, President Rüütel will visit the South-East Border Guard District – the Piirisaare radar surveillance centre, land border near Värska, the Koidula border crossing point, and the Luhamaa Border Guard Station.

Public Relations Department of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, June 26, 2006

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