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The President of the Republic appointed the Commander of the Army

President Lennart Meri received Rear Admiral Tarmo Kõuts, the Commander of Estonian Defence Forces, and Lieutenant-Colonel Aarne Ermus, the Commander of the General Staff of the Defence Forces, and the Acting Army Commander Lieutenant-General Johannes Kert, the Air Force Commander Colonel Teo Krüüner, the Acting Navy Commander Lieutenant Ahti Piirimägi, and Captain Benno Leesik, the Commander of the Defence League, in the presidential palace of Kadriorg today.

President Lennart Meri, the Supreme Commander of National Defence of the Republic of Estonia, signed the resolution to appoint Lieutenant-General Johannes Kert to the post of the Army Commander. The President said that the structure of the Estonian defence forces must be connected to Estonia's goals of accession to the European Union and NATO. As the President said, Estonian defence forces are expected to be not large, but professional, capable of fulfilling both internationally important tasks and those necessary to maintain the Republic of Estonia.

The President offered lunch to the leaders of the defence forces. At lunch, the need to increase the administrative capability of the defence forces, as well as the renovation of the supervisory control system, were discussed. As the President said, the defence forces must not be independent of the goals of the state, but still retain their independence of everyday politics. Speaking of personnel policy, the need for establishing a career system based on the rotation of officers was emphasised. In connection with the establishment of the Army Staff in the course of the command systems reform in December 2000, it was considered important to improve co-operation between the Ministry of Defence and the defence forces, and to determine their functions.

The President of the Republic and the leaders of the defence forces emphasised the importance of further integration with NATO, including the completion of the tasks of the annual NATO Membership Action Plan, participation in the exercises of NATO and the Partnership for Peace programme, and active co-operation in the common Baltic military projects.

Press Service of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, January 30, 2001


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