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The President of the Republic met with the Secretary General of NATO

President Arnold Rüütel this evening at Kadriorg met with NATO Secretary General George Robertson who was on a one-day working visit to Estonia.

The subject matter of their meeting was the forthcoming enlargement of NATO with its concomitant tasks, whereas both sides expressed satisfaction with their current state of cooperation. As observed by President Rüütel, Estonia was successfully on target to acceed, and all signs made us believe that we would fulfil our tasks in future as well. According to the Head of State, the accession treaty to be signed soon would reinforce the sense of security of the Estonians and, on top of that, facilitate our economic development.

Lord Robertson agreed that NATO enlargement was a most important event in the history of a nation since it marked the beginning of a new era. The Secretary General expressed appreciation of Estonia's development and noted that, thanks to the progress made, a small state like Estonia, too, was able to perform its tasks and duties on the northeastern border of NATO.

During the conversation, the regional co-operation between NATO's present and future member states was touched upon, whereas George Robertson spoke highly of the co-operation between the Baltic States. Speaking about growing support to NATO among the Estonia's population, the Secretary General noted that this depended largely on if the people were sufficiently informed and on the position of chiefs of state. By the same token, George Robertson underlined the need to strengthen Estonia's representation to NATO in order to be able to discharge its obligations arising from the membership.

The Estonian Head of State assured that Estonia had no difficulties finding qualified specialists for Brussels since we had managed to create an excellent officers' corps. Estonia was following NATO's recommendations while building its military structures, attaching at the same time importance to the development of its territorial and total defence, the President added.

The Head of State thanked George Robertson for the assistance to NATO's future member states in developing their defence capabilities.

Office of the President
Kadriorg, March 25, 2003

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