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

President Arnold Rüütel visited the South-East Border Guard District on Estonia's eastern border.President Arnold Rüütel today visited the South-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 boarded a boat of the Estonian Maritime Administration to go from Tartu along the Emajõgi River to the island of Piirissaare. On the way to Piirissaare a stop was made in the visitors' centre of the Emajõe-Suursoo Nature Reserve that has been founded at Uue-Kastre on the site of a former Varbeki stronghold.
On the island of Piirissaare the President of the Republic visited the radar surveillance centre, and met with local community leaders in the office of the municipal government.

The trip continued from Laaksaare harbour to the land border near Värska. Commander of the South-East Border Guard District lieutenant colonel Rein Orav and other border guard officials gave an overview of the principles of control on the ''green border''.

At Koidula border-crossing checkpoint President Rüütel acquainted himself with the work of local customs officials and border guards, and with the plans for bringing the border station into accordance with the Schengen requirements. The head of state also answered the questions of local journalists. Therewith the President of the Republic completed his visit to Estonia's eastern border.

According to President Rüütel the efficiency of Estonian border guard is important for our internal security as well as for the reliability of our state. ''In four years that have passed since my previous visit to the eastern border the Border Guard has made a big step forward both in improving its technical level and training of personnel. Four years ago preparations were made for turning Estonia's border into the external border of the European Union and NATO, today preparations are made for the accession to the Schengen area. The infrastructure is being developed and a thorough reform to restructure the organisation is going on,'' the head of state said summarising his impressions from the visit and wished the border guards success and strength for the future.

During today's visit, Director General of the Board of the Border Guard, governors of Tartu Põlva and Võru counties and local government leaders were accompanying the President of the Republic.

Public Relations Department of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, June 27, 2006

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