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The President of the Republic acquainted himself with the Estonian Defence Forces

President Arnold Rüütel visited today, accompanied by the Commander of the Armed Forces Rear Admiral Tarmo Kõuts, the General Staff of the Defence Forces, the Detached Communications Battalion in Tallinn, the Centre for Peace Operations at Paldiski and the Ämari Air Base of the Air Force. The purpose of the visit was to get acquainted with the command system and units of the Estonian Armed Forces. The President of the Republic visited for the first time the new building of the General Staff of the Armed Forces in Juhkentali Street.

At the site of the Detached Communications Battalion President Rüütel familiarized himself with living conditions of the conscripts and listened to the singing of the chorus of the School nr. 21. The Detached Communications Battalion and the school from Raua Street are connected by historic ties. After the occupation of Estonia, the Communications Battalion which had been turned out of its barracks by Red Army was stationed in the schoolhouse at the Raua Street. In the schoolhouse, on 21 June 1940 the Communications Battalion put up armed resistance to the soldiers of the Red Army and members of the Rahva Omakaitse (People's Self-Defence) who had come to take over the unit.

At the Centre for Peace Operations the Commander of the unit major Aivar Jaeski acquainted the President with the history, structure and tasks of the centre and gave an overview of the participation of Estonian soldiers in international peace operations. ''The unit has made on me a good impression and its personnel has been trained well but, a lot still remains to be done. Allocating in the coming years 2% of the GDP for the defence we could solve a series of pending problems,'' the President said. Thereafter Arnold Rüütel had a soldier's lunch in the company of soldiers.

At the Air Base of Ämari President Rüütel visited the Air Sovereignty Operations Centre that was shown to him by the Commander of the Estonian Air Force colonel Teo Krüüner, the Chief of Staff colonel Valeri Saar and the Commander of the centre second lieutenant Eero Neemla.

The President of the Republic recognized the progress of the Estonian Armed Forces, made during the last years, and wished Armed Forces further success. President Rüütel is intending to visit other units of the Estonian Armed Forces as well.

Photographs of the President's tour can be ordered from the General Staff of the Armed Forces addressing or dialling 056 477 532.

Press Service of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, December 19, 2001

© 2006 Office of the President l tel: + 372 631 6202 l fax: + 372 631 6250 l