Estonian Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand on Monday opened an Estonian embassy in the Australian capital city Canberra.
Estonia opens embassy in Australia
«It is not a new decision to open an embassy. A mission in Australia was opened already in 2011 and in 2014 the government decided to open an embassy in Canberra instead of opening a consulate general in Sydney. The embassy has been operational since last August and now we officially opened it,» Kaljurand said in a comment given to BNS on Friday.
«By opening an embassy in Australia we want to strengthen political and defense cooperation with a country important for us and that thinks like us as well as with other countries in the region. Australia is an important partner for NATO and contributor to fight against international terrorism,» Kaljurand said.
«Besides representing Estonia, opening an embassy was also important to offer consular services and consular help to Estonian citizens staying in Australia. Estonians have a large community in Australia and it is growing,» the minister said and added that at present there are around 10,000 Estonians in Australia.
According to Kaljurand another goal is to support the interests of entrepreneurs as well as their ambitions to promote cooperation. «Business contacts have been strengthened and trade with Australia has increased, last year even by a third,» she added.
Estonian ambassador to Australia is Andres Unga, and other people working at the embassy are a consul, a secretary and a driver. Estonia also has four honorary consuls in Australia who represent Estonia's interests, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told BNS.
Kaljurand and his Finnish counterpart Timo Soini on Monday started a week-long visit to Australia and New Zealand with business delegations.