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The President of the Republic met with the President of Portugal

President Arnold Rüütel started his state visit to the Republic of Portugal and met with the President of Portugal Jorge Sampaio.

On Sunday, the President of the Republic and Mrs. Ingrid Rüütel together with the accompanying delegation arrived in Portugal. The first visit was made to Herdade do Esporao vineries, the products of which will be soon exported to Estonia. After that the delegation got acquainted with the old town of Évora, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and visited one of the oldest universities in Portugal - the University of Évora.

State visit to the Republic of Portugal 27.11.-01.12.2005Today, in the morning, President Rüütel visited the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos Monastery and laid a wreath to the tomb of Luis de Camões in the Monastery's church. After that the Head of Estonian state arrived at the Belém Palace, where the state visit's official reception ceremony was held. The President of Portugal Jorge Sampaio and Mrs. Maria José Ritta de Sampaio greeted President Rüütel and Mrs. Rüütel. After the inspection of the Guard of Honour, the visitors' book was signed, the delegations were introduced and the Orders were exchanged. The President of Portugal conferred the Grand Collar of the Order of Liberty (Grande Colar da Ordem da Liberdale) on President Rüütel and the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit (Gra-Cruz da Ordem do Mérito) on Mrs. Ingrid Rüütel; the Head of Estonian State conferred the Collar of the Order of the White Star on President Sampaio and the Medal of the Order of the White Star on Mrs. Sampaio.

After that, a tete-a-tete meeting of the presidents and a meeting with the delegations took place. The topics discussed at the meeting covered Estonian-Portuguese bilateral relations and relations within the framework of the European Union and NATO. It was stated that since President Sampaio's visit to Estonia in 2003, the relations between the two countries were advancing rapidly and the first Ambassador of Portugal residing in Tallinn had started her work in Estonia. Also the present first state visit of the President of Estonia to Portugal is a sign of good relations. The EU Neighbourhood Policy and relations with Russia were also discussed, and in that connection the need of having a unified EU policy towards Russian was highlighted.

In the words of the presidents, it is necessary to preserve Europe's diversity, but at the same time also its cohesion - which most likely will be accomplished, and therefore there is no reason to be pessimistic about the future of Europe.

At the press conference, President Sampaio gave President Rüütel high recognition, saying that through his dedicated activities he represented Estonia's aspirations to independence in the best possible way. In the words of the Portuguese Head of State, for that reason President Rüütel had earned the admiration of the people of Estonia as well as of European states that respect Estonia's aspirations.

Today, President Rüütel will also meet with the Chairman of the National Assembly of the Republic of Portugal Jaime Gama, and will visit the Town Hall of Lisbon.

Tonight, the President of the Republic of Portugal and Mrs. Sampaio will host a festive dinner in the Ajuda Palace in honour of the Estonian Head of State and Mrs. Rüütel.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, November 28, 2005

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