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The President of the Republic thanked departing ambassadors

President Arnold Rüütel today at Kadriorg received departing ambassadors and conferred on them the 1st Class Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana for their services to the Estonian state.

Per Kristian Pedersen, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway to Estonia in the years 2000 - 2005, and Edgars Skuja, the Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia to Estonia in the years 2002 - 2005 deserved the thanks of the President of the Republic.

At the meeting with the Ambassador of Norway, the President of the Republic said that the Estonian-Norwegian bilateral relations had made a long step forward during the last five years. ''You have provided constructive assistance for Estonia's accession to NATO, which was a very essential step taken in our security policy. It concerns the NATO Prague Summit in November 2002, where Estonia was invited to start accession negotiations with the Alliance, as well as actual Accession in March 2004. Those events are significant milestones in Estonia's modern history, and will stay in our history textbooks forever,'' the Head of State said.

President Arnold Rüütel thanked departing ambassador Per Kristian PedersenAmbassador Pedersen thanked the President of the Republic for the high recognition bestowed on him and said that following the rapid reform process in Estonia had been an educating lesson for him and had offered an opportunity to participate in making history.

At the meeting with the Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia, President Rüütel recalled the time when both Estonia and Latvia were taking responsible steps towards the accession to the European Union and NATO. ''I am sincerely pleased that Estonia and Latvia walked along that path together. The success of one of the Baltic states also means success of the other two. And so, supporting each other, we should see the relations between our nations also in future in much wider and more comprehensive framework,'' the Head of State emphasised.

President Arnold Rüütel thanked departing ambassador Edgars SkujaAmbassador Skuja said in his response that he would take that high recognition bestowed on him first of all as recognition given to the Estonian-Latvian cooperation. Both, President Rüütel and the Ambassador of Latvia recognised the importance of having joint position of the Baltic states in relations with Russia.

The Head of State thanked both ambassadors for their work done in introducing their countries to Estonians and in enlivening economic cooperation between our countries. ''I really hope with all my heart that those years have been pleasant for you and have offered satisfaction through reaching your goals. I hope that you come to visit Estonia again and again. You can be sure that you are always expected and welcome here,'' the President of the Republic said.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, September 12, 2005

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