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The President of the Republic spoke at the opening of the 24th Session of the Baltic Assembly

President Arnold Rüütel today attended the opening of the 24th Session of the Baltic Assembly in the Riigikogu and delivered a speech.

In his speech, the Head of State expressed conviction that close cooperation between three kindred countries' parliaments can deliver new quality both in international relations and in looking for domestic solutions.

Recalling the challenges the Baltic Assembly had to face at the beginning of its existence, the President of the Republic said that today's Europe and the world as a whole presents considerably more complicated challenges and intricate solutions. "However, a need for lasting cooperation has not changed. More than ever before all outcome-oriented steps depend on cooperation between a broad range of partners," President Rüütel said.

The head of Estonian state expressed his satisfaction that the agenda of the Baltic Assembly's plenary session includes also a discussion on how the Baltic Assembly, being in a new environment, in the international relations network interwoven with close partnerships, could be more efficient in promoting Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian interest.

Greetings at the opening session were delivered also by Ene Ergma, Chairman of the Estonian Riigikogu, Arturas Paulauskas, Chairman of the Lithuanian Seimas, Janis Straume, Chairman of the Latvian Saeimas, Rannveig Gudmundsdottir, President of the Nordic Council, Pawel Zalewski, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Polish Parliament, and others.

After that, President Rüütel met with Chairman of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma, Chairman of the Lithuanian Seimas Arturas Paulauskas, and Chairman of the Latvian Saeimas Janis Straume. The list of topics addressed at the meeting included the ways of improving the efficiency of Baltic cooperation and the contribution of the Baltic states to the implementation of the EU Neighbourhood Policy and to the development of partnership with Russia.

At the meeting, the President of the Republic underlined that the problems with the ratification of the EU Constitutional Treaty indicate that it is necessary to review the European cooperation principles. "The Baltic cooperation was very efficient at the time of the Soviet Union's disintegration, but it is certainly necessary also for the sake of the better functioning of the European Union. The development achieved by improving infrastructure and energy supply, which at the same time helps to promote protection of environment, will give a guarantee to the implementation of the Lisbon Strategy. The Baltic cooperation is relevant also in relation to NATO. And we should not forget that many countries, being interested in our reform experience, look towards Baltic states with hope and confidence," the head of Estonian state said.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, November 25, 2005

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