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The President of the Republic visited the Parliament of Portugal and Lisbon's Town Hall

State visit to the Republic of Portugal 27.11.-01.12.2005On Monday, during the course of his state visit to Portugal, President Rüütel visited the Sao Bento Palace, the home of the Parliament of Portugal - the Assembly of the Republic. At the meeting with Jaime Gama, Chairman of the Parliament of Portugal, and with the leaders of parliament groups possibilities of further development of bilateral relations, including inter-parliamentary cooperation, were discussed. Viewpoints of Estonia and Portugal on solving the EU's institutional problems and on the necessity of member states' inter-parliamentary cooperation were also touched upon.

Thereafter, the Head of Estonian State visited Lisbon's Town Hall, where the Mayor of Lisbon, Antonio Carmona Rodrigues received the guests. The Mayor presented a symbolic Key of the City to President Rüütel. The ambassadors residing in Portugal were also attending the meeting. In his greeting address, Mayor Rodrigues said that he has followed with pride and satisfaction the growth of a small Estonian community in Lisbon. "Within the EU context, Portugal and Estonia are building a common future, and it is natural that we extend a friendly hand to each other," Mayor of Lisbon said.

In his speech held in the Town Hall, the President of the Republic said that Lisbon with its rich history and cultural heritage is well known to Estonians. "Lisbon Estonian Society is developing its activities here, the students of our Academy of Arts are using the opportunities to study in Portugal, the concerts of our musicians are usually sold out," the Head of Estonian State said.

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

In his speech, addressing his Estonian colleague, President Sampaio expressed his conviction that through acting together it would be possible to develop an harmonious partnership, promote closer ties between the people and cultures of the two countries, and make efforts for the sake of coping with today's problems and challenges both in Europe and in the international arena.

In his speech delivered at the dinner, the Head of Estonian State stressed that the idea of European community composed of sovereign states is not a new idea. "In reality we are much closer to it than any generation before us has ever been during the history of Europe. People, values and mutual relations are of the highest importance. We are working together for the sake of achieving the goals set by the Lisbon strategy to make Europe more competitive and economically stronger. But also for the sake of preservation of our rich cultural heritage. This is a background against which we see also bilateral relations between Estonia and Portugal that are very good today, but will certainly become even better," the President of the Republic said.

President Rüütel said that a union of different regions and different cultures that is a unique experience in the world history makes our continent stronger. "I do not see any reason to be worried about European solidarity, ideals and core values. The continuing enlargement of the European Union tends to confirm their validity and durability, and the cooperation between different countries will make them more understandable and more meaningful," the President of the republic said.

Several members of the Estonian delegation had their own meetings according to their separate itinerary. Mrs. Ingrid Rüütel visited the Belém Palace Museum, the National Tile Museum and the Fado Museum. Rector of the Academy of Arts, Signe Kivi visited the Academy of Fine Arts and met with Silvia Chicó, Rector of the University of Lisbon. The Vice-President of the Bank of Estonia, Rein Mitka met with the Vice-President of the Bank of Portugal, António Pereira Marta.

Chief of the Defence Forces, Vice Admiral Tarmo Kõuts acquainted himself with the work of NATO Analysis Centre and thereafter visited the Headquarters of Land Forces where NATO joint operation in Afghanistan was discussed. Minister of Environment Villu Reiljan met with the State Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Humberto Rosa. Minister of Finance Aivar Sõerd met with the Portuguese Minister of Finance, Fernando Teixera dos Santos.
On Tuesday, President Rüütel will deliver a speech at the Estonian-Portuguese business seminar, will meet with the Prime Minister of Portugal, Jose Socrates and will visit an oceanarium. On Wednesday, the President of the republic will visit the city of Porto.

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

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