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Estonia reportedly appoints new Ambassador to the US

Ministry of Defence Secretary General Jonatan Vseviov.
Ministry of Defence Secretary General Jonatan Vseviov. Source: Elena Vareiko/ERR

Estonia has appointed a new Ambassador to the US, current Minstry of Defence Secretary General Jonatan Vseviov, it has been reported.

Mr Vseviov, 36, who has already undergone two diplomatic stints in the US, will replace Lauri Lepik.

Mr Lepik has been recalled from Washington at his own request, citing fatigue and burnout as announced last Friday, 1 June.

Estonian daily Postimees had quoted a diplomatic source in saying that Mr. Lepik's recall was also connected with alcohol abuse, and incidents which had coincided with the visits of all three Baltic Presidents to the US earlier in the year.*

Jonatan Vseviov's background appears to suit the role adequately, with an influential and sterling career in Estonia behind him as well his two diplomatic appointments in the US, which he combined with a study stay at Georgetown University.

Mr. Vseviov was unavailable for comment when ERR tried to reach him, and the Ministry was similarly brief in its responses, principally because it is standard practice to not make diplomatic appointments public until they have been officially named.

There are additionally protocols to go through with Estonia's communicating with the US on the matter.

Nevertheless Mr. Vseviov is scheduled to travel to the US on a working trip next week, though that is in relation to his current role with the Ministry of Defence, it has been reported.

Mr. Vseviov is known amongst those who have worked with him for being adept at thinking on his feet and making decisions quickly, not afraid to take risks as well as being a good team player with a real passion and sense of humour.

''Estonia comes first with him, there's no doubt about it,'' said one source, a high-profile colleague.

''Estonian foreign representation will be given momentum, depth and colour, thanks to him,'' they went on.

Mr. Vseviov is also already a known quantity so far as the Estonian Embassy in Washington is concerned, having worked on diplomatic postings in the US twice before as noted.

Jonatan Vseviov's CV

- Born 1981.

- Graduate of Department of Political Science at the University of Tartu and earned a Master's degree, with honours, in security studies from Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service in the US.

- 2005 Completed military service as an officer in the reserve forces of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF).

- 2005-2008 Policy ambassador in the US involved in rolling out visa-free travel for Estonian citizens there.

- Worked in the aftermath of the 2007 cyber attacks on Estonia in securing the support of the White House.

- Involved in the development of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDOE) in Tallinn.

- Ten years working at the Estonian Ministry of Defence, including preparation and implementation of decisions enhancing Estonia's defence both independently and collectively as part of NATO.

- Leveraged defence budget to enable adequate manning, equipping and supplying of EDF.

- Participated in elaboration, preparation and implementation of all key components of NATO's current deterrence and defence capabilities, including the presence of Allies in the Baltic States and Poland.

- One of the authors of National Defence Development Plan approved in 2013

- 2013-2014 Defence policy advisor in Washington during effective annexation by Russia of the Crimean penisular, as well as fighting between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces in the eastern Ukraine.

- Married with two children. Mr. Vseviov's father is historian David Vseviov.


If the move does go ahead, Estonia will need a new Ministry of Defence Secretary General. One option for Mr. Vseviov's replacement might come from the ranks of the EDF, as happened with General Riho Terras in 2008-10.

Going in the reverse direction, it is still not clear who will be the next US Ambassador to Estonia, following news that Retired Rear Admiral Edward Masso, who had been lined up to be replacement to current incumbent James Melville, will not be appointed to the role after all.

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 *Mr. Lepik had presented his credentials to US President Donald J. Trump on 1 September, 2017. Regardless of the reasons for his recall it is problematic and necessitates his replacement with a competent person with solid credentials, it would appear.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: ERR Uudised

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