September 25, 2007

Secret Estonian Pipeline Doc Leaked

A copy of an Estonian Defense Ministry memorandum concerning the North European Gas Pipeline marked “for internal use only” appeared on the website of the publication Postimees yesterday. In it, the ministry complains that government agencies showed little opposition to the research of the seabed by the German-Russian Nord Stream pipeline company, forcing the country's political leadership to turn the company down. The publication of the document threatens to cause a government crisis. Estonian authorities are most concerned about how the document fell into the hands of the media, however.

In the memorandum, it is noted with disapproval that the Estonian ministers of defense, economics and foreign affairs did not express any opposition to the exploration of the seabed within the zone of Estonian economic interests until the day before the final decision on it was made. Observers say that the refusal may have been forced on the government by the nationalistically-oriented Union of the Fatherland-Republic Party, which is part of the ruling coalition in the government along with the Reform Party and Social Democratic Party.

Estonian Defense Minister Jaak Aaviksoo said on national television that he was “amazed and disturbed” by the leak of the document, which only ministry and local officials are allowed to see without special permission. This is not the first scandal over lost secret document in Estonia. Estonian foreign minister Kristina Ojuland was forced to resign two years ago after an information leak, and defense minister Margus Hanson was forced to resign after secret documents were stolen from his home. He was convicted of negligence and fined several thousand kroon.

1 comment:

Tanvir said...

This won't be the first time Estonia and Russia has had conflict. I just ran into a website about Estonia the other day - it is a Documentary about Estonia's Singing Revolution: