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The President of the Republic met with the city leaders of Riga and Jelgava

Today, in the morning, President Arnold Rüütel delivered a speech in the Latvian Saeima where he stressed that independence would work for the good of the nation only if it was filled with a content that meets the needs and aspirations of people. "In every sphere of life, people who have founded their own state have to constantly seek for their own specific solutions that have also weight in international context. In democratic states, it is the legislator's - the parliament's biggest challenge, the weightiest part of its work. To create laws that embody the values and ideals of your own people and enrich the possibilities of cooperation with other nations," the Estonian Head of State said.

The President of the Republic visited Riga City Government and met with the city leaders. Mayor Aivars Aksenoks gave an overview of the cooperation between the Latvian capital and the cities of Tallinn and Tartu. President Rüütel noted that Estonia's close relations with the city of Riga have a long history and certainly there is interest to deepen such cooperation also in the future.

After that, the President of the Republic visited the company SIA TMB Elements in Salaspils that produces precast reinforced concrete construction elements, and is one of the biggest Estonian investments in Latvia.

The Head of Estonian State visited the city of Jelgava that has friendship ties with the city of Pärnu in Estonia. In Jelgava, President Rüütel met with Mayor Andris Ravinš and together with the Latvian Head of State Vaira Vike-Freiberga laid a wreath at the monument to the first president of the Republic of Latvia Janis Čakste. In the Latvian Agricultural University that is located in Jelgava Castle, President Rüütel met with Rector Juris Skujans, made a tour at the University and delivered a speech.

Also a ceremony of conferring an Honorary Doctor Degree on the Estonian Head of State took place at the University. Handing over to President Rüütel the certificate of the Honorary Doctor Degree, Rector Skujans emphasised his long-term cooperation ties with the Latvian Agricultural University and his scientific merits: "In his research work, Professor Arnold Rüütel dealt with problems related to specialisation, concentration and mechanisation of dairy industry. The results of his scientific research work are well known also in Latvia, and have influenced the development of Latvian dairy cattle breeding and scientific research directions." The rector also underlined the importance of the work done by the Estonian Head of State in promoting rural life and the Baltic cooperation.

In his speech, the President of the Republic gave a brief overview of the current situation in Estonian agriculture, the activities of the Estonian University of Life Sciences, and briefly also of the topics of his research work. In the words of President Rüütel, the general development of rural areas is determined by the activities of agricultural producers. "In those rural areas where agriculture is stagnating, there is, as a rule, a lack of any other entrepreneurial activities and life tends to fade away. But, in the areas where there are enterprises of different size in various fields, live people who pay taxes, are capable to cope with social problems, and stimulate the provision of services based on private initiative," the Head of Estonian State said.

The Latvian Head of State Vaira Vike-Freiberga also made an address at the ceremony and congratulated her colleague on the academic recognition bestowed on him.

The visit to Jelgava ended with a visit to the enterprise "Latvijas keramika A".

Within the framework of his special program, Chief of the Estonian Defence Forces Vice Admiral Tarmo Kõuts visited the National Defence Academy in Riga, a training centre and a school of non-commissioned officers, as well as the General Staff of Latvian Defence Forces and the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre. Vice Admiral Kõuts met with the Chief of Latvian Defence Forces Gaidis Andrejs Zeibots.

Thursday evening, Mrs. Ingrid Rüütel will open a Seto exhibition in Riga City Government building and after that the presidential couple will attend a reception held by the Estonian Ambassador Toomas Lukk. Ensemble "Kuldatsäuk" from Värska, directed by Laine Lõvi, will perform at the reception.

On Friday morning, the President of the Republic will visit the Riga Estonian School and then return to Estonia.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, December 8, 2005

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