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The President of the Republic opened an international conference dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the foundation of the Council of the Baltic States

The President of the Republic today opened an international conference "The Role of the Council of the Baltic States in the restoration of the independence of the Baltic States", dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the Council of the Baltic States.

Opening the conference, the President of the Republic said that as this year and next year, 15 years will pass since the events that have important place and meaning in the process of the restoration of independence of the three Baltic states, several joint discussions on the topics of our recent history has been planned.

"We assume that the time separating us from those events has been long enough to separate the future tendencies bearing historical experience from emotional background system. I believe that thanks to such discussions it is possible to restore several already forgotten facts in our memory that would help us to interpret the past 15-year history in its integrity.

The restoration of independence of the Baltic states was the result of the resolute and wise fight of three small nations. It was supported by the experience of independent statehood gained during the period between the two world wars and social activism of nationalistically disposed citizens. The success was secured by acting step-by-step through legal structures and thoroughly deliberating ever move.

In addition to that, jointly taken actions of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania amplified the message sent to the world, tripled our might and made it possible for each of the three nations, in whatever situation, to have at least two allies," the head of state noted.

President Rüütel stressed that the historical experience becomes valuable only if it supports us in our endeavours today and helps us to plan our future. "Giving an assessment to the last 15 years, we can say that history seems to have two different speeds. We feel one speed when judging our development within the European Union and the cooperation with the nations and states that honour democratic values.

From the other hand, waiting for Russia to treat our shared history truthfully and honestly, time seems to pass very slowly. Assessments given to the events that took place in the Baltic states in 1940-ies, also to our membership in NATO, ungrounded allegations of restriction of the rights of Russian speaking population, are comparable with the viewpoints expressed 15 or more years ago," the President of the Republic said.

"15 years ago, the communiqué of the meeting of the Chairmen of the Supreme Councils who had signed the Declaration on Unity and Cooperation of the Baltic States, pointed out that the Baltic states consider their return to world politics as a step which contributes to the strengthening of international trust, security and cooperation. Today we can say that we have moved steadily towards the goal set then," the Head of the state said and wished everybody success, cooperation and concord.

Also, Anatolijs Gorbunovs who as the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia from 1990 till 1993 was the Head of Latvian state, delivered a speech. The agenda of the conference included three longer presentations: "The integration of the Baltic States on time axis" by Mr. Romualdas Ozolas (Lithuania), "The role of the Council of the Baltic States in the restoration of independence of Latvia", Mr. Ivars Godmanis (Latvia) and 2The Council of the Baltic States - an historical event or a future sign" by professor Arno Almann (Estonia).

After the presentations, Juhan Aare introduced interviews with Mikhail Gorbatchev and Alexander Yakovlev that were recently made in Moscow. After that followed discussion on the topics handled during the conference. At the conclusion of the conference, the President of the Republic hosted a reception.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, May 13, 2005

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