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The President of the Republic spoke at a festive meeting dedicated to the 86th anniversary of the Tartu Peace Treaty

President Arnold Rüütel and Mrs. Ingrid Rüütel today attended a festive concert meeting in Estonia Concert Hall, in Tallinn, organised by the General Staff of the Defence Forces and the Estonian Male Singing Society on the occasion of the 86th anniversary of the Tartu Peace Treaty.

In his speech delivered at the meeting, President Rüütel said that the Tartu Peace Treaty is one of the lasting symbols of our independence. ''Today several Russian politicians attempt to treat the Treaty of Tartu as a plain historic document. However, for us the treaty sustains a dimension of continuity in international relations. As a lesson of the Treaty we have to admit that even if treaties are difficult to conclude, they are still possible and necessary between two neighbouring states,'' the Head of State said.

The President of the Republic urged to cast aside political rivalry while expressing gratitude to people who restored our state, and celebrating the 15th anniversary of the restoration of the Republic of Estonia to admit that our independence is an outcome of the efforts of the entire nation.

''The history and future of Estonia are bound together with the will of the people. It is appropriate to recall today that the restoration of independence was a long process, taking many years, with each participant playing a highly significant role. The ''Letter of the Forty'' twenty five years ago was followed by a ''phosphorite war'' and events in Hirvepark, Popular Front and Citizens’ Committees, restored self-government and targeted steps taken by the then Supreme Council in creating a legal basis for independence,'' the Head of State said.

President Rüütel reminded that in 1919-1925 the Republic of Estonia had awarded the Cross of Liberty to more than three thousand individuals. ''2150 of them were Estonians who were awarded for the valour in the War of Independence. I am convinced that they would have deserved the recognition also in the peacetime - for their bravery or commitment to work,'' the President of the Republic said.

The Head of the State noted that the restoration of Estonia's independence was a kind of new War of Independence under new circumstances, however, without casualties. ''We could think that the more sacrificed lives there are; the more valuable is the freedom. Although freedom is an ultimate benefit and value, a human life and peace are really priceless. This applied fifteen years ago and applies today,'' the President of the Republic said.

Public Relations Department of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, February 2, 2006

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