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The President of the Republic At the festive dinner hosted by the President of the Republic of Moldova, H.E. Mr. Vladimir Voronin and Mrs. Taisia Voronina in honour of the President of the Republic of Estonia Mr. Arnold Rüütel March 20, 2006, Chişinău

Honourable Mr. President,
Honourable Mrs. Voronina,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!

The hospitality of Moldova is truly heart warming! Here the guests can feel welcome and are greeted with joy. Mr. President, thank you for your invitation to visit beautiful and colourful Moldova during the first days of spring. Please, accept our sincere gratitude for the cordial reception that we all have experienced here.

Nature has given you a lot, but, at the same time, history has treated you rather roughly. Through difficulties you have reached a crossroad, where you have to make efforts to defeat the tide that can pull you back. The westward oriented course that you have chosen demands consistency and perseverance. This road is also full of challenges, and offers possibilities to secure stability and prosperity. You should know that you have many supporters and friends – and Estonia is definitely among them.

We understand how important it is for Moldova to join Euro-Atlantic structures, and it is undoubtedly clear that it has great significance not only for your region but also for the entire Europe. Estonia, being a EU member state, attaches great importance to the New Neighbourhood Initiative and its main goal – to facilitate the building of democratic civil societies in the new neighbour countries of the European Union, including in Moldova.

Mr. President,

It is said that seeing is believing. Last September, during your visit to Estonia, you had an opportunity to witness the progress that we have achieved over the last fifteen years. We are satisfied, though there are always those who criticise and there are things that could have been done better. But those years, full of rapid changes and strenuous processes, have brought us success.

I am pleased to assert that in recent years the cooperation between our two countries has become positively more active. I can assure that Estonia is continuously ready to share its reform experience with Moldova according to you interest and concrete needs, at the level of our bilateral relations as well as within the framework of multilateral programmes. It is of great importance to us that Moldova would direct its internal political force to securing sustainable development of its reform process.

There are many opportunities – starting with public sector’s administrative capacity and legislative drafting and ending with developing of information society. I am positive that in comparison with other donor countries, Estonia can offer some additional value in that respect, as we ourselves have recently walked the same road.

We hope that Estonia’s assistance in implementing reforms that are necessary for the reorganisation of society, and Estonian-Moldovan bilateral cooperation would facilitate the realisation of Moldova’s plans and maintaining the chosen political direction. Also the delegation of businessmen that is accompanying me on this visit and tomorrow’s business forum as well as meetings between Estonian and Moldovan businessmen prove our wish to intensify direct bilateral contacts between us.

Mr. President!

From the viewpoint of the entire Europe, it is very important to find a solution to the Transnistria conflict. Estonia has consistently supported unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops from Moldova. We wish a peaceful settlement of the conflict that takes into consideration the territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova. We find that the involvement of international community in that process is continuously necessary. I am convinced that within the framework of the EU’s policy towards Russia it is necessary to deal with still unsettled problems more actively, including the Transnistria issue that in the long run might become a source of growing instability.

I am completely confident saying that, as we all wish to hope that we have left forever behind the time when the borders of states and demographic situation were forcibly changed by just a light careless gesture of some political-ideological interest group.

Comprehensive integration processes characterize Europe of today. Good relations between the states are based on trust, which is possible if all the parties share the same values. It is possible to maintain the identity and state boarders in that process, and it has nothing to do with using violence.

Knowing that it is clear both for Estonia and Moldova that political and economic independence of the state, its stability and prosperity could be achieved only through efficient reforms and integration with Euro-Atlantic blocks, I am convinced that the positive development of our relations will continue also in the future.

Mr. President Voronin,
Mrs. Voronina!

I wish every success to the people of Moldova, and to all your good endeavours!
I wish human happiness to all citizens of your beautiful country!
I would like to raise this glass to your health!

© 2006 Office of the President l tel: + 372 631 6202 l fax: + 372 631 6250 l