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The President of the Republic met with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu

President Rüütel today at Kadriorg met with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu. The meeting primarily addressed issues related to the Baltic Assembly and development aid given by Estonia, as well as other foreign policy matters.

Enn Eesmaa, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, presented the view of Estonia - currently the leader of the Baltic cooperation, on how to make the Baltic Assembly more efficient, and expressed his hope that in near future, with the help of experts, it would be possible to overcome the difference of opinions that had hindered the cooperation with Latvia and Lithuania for some time. Also the other members of the Committee were confident that in near future the viewpoints of the three Baltic states would become closer.

Talking on that topic, the President of the Republic stressed that it would be in the interests of the Baltic states as well as in the interests of the European Union as a whole that the Baltic cooperation continued. "When regional cooperation works efficiently, also the European Union as a whole is more successful. We need this in order to cope with future challenges, for example, in order to implement the Lisbon strategy," the Head of State said. The President of the Republic also underlined that several times in the history the cooperation between the three states and their people had proven to be important.

President Rüütel also spoke about good development potential of the Baltic Sea countries, the basis of which would be close integration and which would manifest itself in many different fields, for example, in logistics, in the field of energy, and in jointly established infrastructure in general. The members of the Foreign Affairs Committee confirmed that those topics would continuously be in the forefront during the discussions held within the framework of the Baltic cooperation.

Briefly discussing the Estonian-Russian border issue it was underscored that the Estonian side was continuously demonstrating good will and its readiness for contacts with representatives of Russia. When discussing Estonia's development aid, it was mentioned that as the allocations from the state budget for development aid were increasing Estonia would be more interested in tying the aid to the development of democratic institutions in target countries. President Rüütel proposed also more targeted use of aid, for example, for development of vocational education and as environmental catastrophes were becoming more frequent, also for foundation and replenishment of necessary emergency reserves. It was noted that discussions on those topics were becoming more active both in the UN and in the EU.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, October 20, 2005

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