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Riigikogu defense committee supports Col. Andrus Merilo as next EDF commander

The Riigikogu National Defense Committee has unanimously supported the candidacy of Colonel Andrus Merilo for the position of commander of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF), committee member Peeter Tali (Eesti 200) said on Monday.

Speaking to Vikerradio's "Uudis +" show, Tali said: "The National Defense Committee has unanimously supported this candidacy. Everyone was in favor of it."

"The candidate left a very good impression, namely of an officer with a confident, comprehensive and strategic vision. He is certainly an officer of that stature," he continued.

Tali said that the committee considered Merilo's service and combat experience in relation to foreign missions as key.

"Uudis+" presenter Lauri Varik asked whether Merilo's rank being that of colonel, and not general, had not raised questions.

Tali said: "This is a question for the Minister of Defense, who also justified it. He considered Col. Merilo as the best candidate, and that, according to the rotation plan, he should in any case have transferred to the post of EDF deputy commander."

Tali also noted that Merilo says he has the backing of EDF generals, as well as that of the commander of the Estonian Navy, Cdre Jüri Saska.

Tali added that Merilo had answered the questions of the committee members (see gallery above) for a full two-hour period, and there were no answers left outstanding.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Aleksander Krjukov

Source: 'Uudis+,' interviewer Lauri Varik

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