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The President of the Republic presented the Pioneer Battalion their flag

President Arnold Rüütel today participated in a ceremony held in Tapa where he handed the battalion flag over to the Pioneer Battalion. The Head of state participated also in the opening ceremony of a new staff building and study facilities of Tapa Training Centre.

In his opening address, the President of the Republic highlighted the role of the battalion in training and developing of necessary pioneer skills. "We need this for guaranteeing our defence capability through training war-time units, but also for fulfilling our obligations as allies, which includes also training of mission units and participation in joint operations," President Rüütel stressed.

The Head of state said that Estonia has fulfilled its obligations arising from being a full member of NATO for more than a year already, and during that time we have participated in several missions. "Our Explosive Ordnance Disposal specialists have played an important role in Afghanistan, and their work of cleaning the war devastated country from mines has found recognition among our partners. They have fulfilled their dangerous task with honour and we can be proud of them," the President of the Republic said.

Presenting the flag to the Pioneer Battalion, President Rüütel expressed gratitude to all people and organisations that have in Estonia as well as in Canada made their contributions to that project, and wished the Pioneer Battalion strength and courage in defending the state.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, May 31, 2005

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