Former Finance Minister Jürgen Ligi, who recently resigned after an Internet rant against another Cabinet minister, said retired army chief Ants Laaneots showed passion, and the current Commander in Chief, Major General Riho Terras, who was called a IRL puppet by Laaneots, should not take offense.
“Ants Laaneots does need us to babysit him. He has the most experience, and experience is necessary. If he comes out with an opinion that is disliked by some, then his reasons are not contempt for Estonian security. On the contrary, its shows his passion. And that opinion must be heard. There is no need for politicians to take offense; this resentment game has gone on for too long,” Ligi, who was the defense minister from 2005-2007, said.
Laaneots said at a defense conference Thursday that the current defense development plan was drawn up by IRL, and Terras went along with the party despite criticism from him and another former army chief.
The comment prompted a response by Urmas Reinsalu, IRL chairman and at the time the defense minister, who said Laaneots entered the political campaign arena with his outbursts and regrettably turned national defense into a political squabble.
Kadri Simson, head of the Center Party's Parliament faction, said Laaneots's outburst blemished the Defense Forces's reputation, and that her party and IRL have asked Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas for a position on the case.
Terras himself said he does not want to comment political opinions and that the development plan, which was passed at the beginning of 2013, is suitable for Estonia considering the nation's resources. He said he was sorry to hear that Laaneots has doubt in a plan which received wide-spread political approval.