Estonia’s UN envoy to become new Defense Minister
Nov 12, 2004
Estonia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Jaak Joeruut, is set to
become the country’s defense minister, the Reform Party said Friday.
Joeruut, 56, a career diplomat, will take over from Margus Hanson
pending approval of his nomination by President Arnold Ruutel who
will return to the country next week from a state visit to Armenia.
Party spokesmen said the approval was a formality because under a
deal between the coalition government parties, the Defense Ministry
portfolio belongs to the Reform Party.
Hanson said he would resign earlier this week after Estonian security
police began an investigation into theft of his briefcase from his
home while he slept.
The content of the stolen documents wasn’t revealed, but Estonia
recently joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and has 45
troops in Iraq. As a basic principle, the most classified defense
ministry papers can only be taken out of the ministry under the
protection of an armed guard.
Under Estonian law, the punishment for unintentional negligence in
handling state secrets ranges from minor charges to a year in prison
in more severe cases. The intentional negligence of state secrets
could result in a sentence of five years in prison.