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The President of the Republic visited the Island of Ruhnu

President Rüütel and Mrs Ingrid Rüütel in the schoolyard met with residents of RuhnuPresident Arnold Rüütel and Mrs Ingrid Rüütel this afternoon visited Ruhnu. The President of the Republic called at the Museum of Ruhnu, the only original Ruhnu Longhouse preserved on the island, Ruhnu's churches and library, and familiarized himself with the local Public Access Internet Point. He also visited a border guard station and a lighthouse.

President Rüütel and Mrs Ingrid Rüütel in the schoolyard met with residents of Ruhnu who asked the President a lot of questions. One of the most vital issues for them was the island’s permanent mainland connection, and if it were possible to extend the permanent connection with Saaremaa to Ruhnu. The topics of education and workforce, and how to stop population decrease were also under discussion. On top of that, they talked about support for traditional rural life.

President Rüütel was asked if he in the September referendum intended to vote for or against Estonia's accession to the European Union. The President of the Republic assured that he would vote for the accession and gave reasons for his choice.

President Rüütel expressed delight that life in Ruhnu had made some real headway: "It is only natural that we would like the development to include even more areas. Every nation having so beautiful islands like we, the Estonians, can definitely be proud of them, however, these beautiful islands have problems too. I think that in order to improve both the life of local people and the access to Ruhnu for visitors, the connection between Ruhnu and the mainland needs to be amended."

In the evening, the President of the Republic flew to Saaremaa in order to attend tomorrow the 6th World Gathering of Natives of Vilsandi.

Office of the President
Kadriorg, July 10, 2003

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