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The President of the Republic took part in the US-Baltic summit

President Rüütel today was on a working visit to the Republic of Latvia attending a summit of three Baltic presidents with the President of the United States of America George W. Bush in Riga.

During the meeting, which took place at the Latvian Society House in Riga, the democratisation experience of the Baltic states and the possibilities of sharing it with other countries, for example, such as the Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Belorussia were discussed. President Rüütel voiced an opinion that the support to reform and democratisation processes in those countries would certainly have a positive effect also on Russia. The head of Estonian state thanked President Bush for the fact that the United States of America had never recognised the occupation of the Baltic states by the Soviet Union. President Bush recognised the economic success of Estonia, and singled out the success in IT sector.

The summit addressed also general global issues, including those related to energy problems. Among other topics also transatlantic relations, missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. visa regime with the Baltic states were touched upon.

In the statement made at the press conference following a working lunch, the heads of state expressed that the meeting had been successful. Among other thing, President Bush said that he was grateful to the Baltic states for giving encouragement and example to many other nations that appreciate liberty and democracy.

In his statement, President Rüütel noted that he regarded the high-level communication between the states participating at the meeting as a basis for a durable and fruitful cooperation. "We have just discussed possibilities and ways of how we can help other nations to achieve democracy, freedom, peace and welfare that are not yet available for everyone in the 21st century. I would like to assure you that Estonia is ready to share its experience with countries that are trying to achieve the same objectives," the head of Estonian state said.

According to the President of the Republic also relations with Russia were touched upon. "It is not only in the interests of Estonia, but also in the interests of all of us, to have a stable and democratic Russia as our partner who shares our common values and is open for constructive cooperation," President Rüütel said.

At the meeting of three Baltic presidents that took place at the Riga Castle, issues related to the Baltic cooperation and topics of common interest were discussed. The heads of state pointed out that in that context it is necessary to focus more than before to the issues related to the European Union affairs. It was stressed that the Baltic states were ready to continuously support the countries covered by the EU neighbourhood policy. Estonia and Latvia explained the situation concerning the signing of border treaties with Russia.

The agenda of U.S.-Baltic summit was concluded by a speech delivered by President Bush at the Small Guild Hall, attended also by the heads of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian states. In his half-hour speech, President Bush spoke about the development of freedom and democracy in the 20th century and about the future in the 21st century, particularly pointing out the challenges that the Near East has to face.

President Rüütel and Foreign Minister Paet gave a press conference to Estonian journalists at the press centre of the House of Congresses, and after that returned back to Estonia.

During the visit, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and the Estonian Ambassador to Latvia Toomas Lukk accompanied the Head of State.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, May 7, 2005

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