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The President of the Republic At a festive dinner hosted by the President of the Republic of Georgia, H.E. Mr. Mikhail Saakashvili in honour of the President of the Republic of Estonia and Mrs. Ingrid Rüütel Tbilisi, May 11, 2006

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

Thank you, Mr. President. Your kind words and affable hospitality give us a great pleasure and warm our hearts.

I am delighted to be again in Georgia. Almost half a year has passed from my first visit, when I participated in the celebration of the second anniversary of the Revolution of Roses. It was a colourful event, where I clearly felt the unwavering support of Georgian people to the chosen democratic course.

It is a great pleasure to see that positive developments are continuing and that Georgia has not let itself to be interrupted by revengeful efforts of some neighbouring countries and artificial barriers that are constantly attempted to be set up on your path.

Mr. President,

Today we all have every reason to be content with constructive and problem-free relations between Estonia and Georgia that are continuously getting stronger. Estonia wishes to support Georgia in achieving its goals, and therefore we attach importance to the intensification of dialogue between our two countries. Lively exchange of mutual visits on various levels, in which we are continuously interested, is a clear indication of the existence of good relations and the willingness to strengthen our relations. In near future Estonia will open its embassy in Tbilisi that will also speed up that process.

It is in Estonia’s interests to facilitate the reforms that will ensure democratic and market oriented development that would make Georgia stronger and enhance stability in the whole region. In 2005, 36 percent of the means designated for Estonian Development Assistance projects were directed at Georgia, and we are ready to facilitate your country’s aspirations towards European integration also in the future. We attach great importance to the continuation of NATO-oriented reforms and completion of a detailed individual action plan for integration into the European Union.

In order to ensure security and stability, the territorial integrity of state and control over one’s territory are of paramount importance. Estonia welcomes the progress achieved by today in solving the issue of withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia.

At the same time, we both know that security does not begin at our state border, but far beyond that. It depends on Europe as a whole, but also on global processes. Herewith, allow me to express my conviction that association with Euroatlantic structures is the best choice both for Estonia and Georgia. This creates preconditions and provides additional means to secure sustainable economic growth and well being of people, and offers much broader development opportunities. Thus, it is in our interests to contribute to the strength and unity of the European Union and NATO. This enables us to make ourselves heard and to be taken into account in ever globalising world.

Mr. President,
The last century has shaped the fate of our countries along the same lines in general. There was an era in our history when a foreign power did everything it could to suppress our national identity, devastating our culture and natural environment, but all this could not break us. From that time we have an important message for the world – a message of endurance and survival.

Having passed through a difficult historical experience, both Georgia and Estonia are independent states today, and we have one more message for the world. Small nations have to stress the primarity of ethics in world politics, as, in comparison with bigger nations who throughout their history have almost never had to worry about their survival, small nations are much more sensitive towards the threats caused by a change of political climate. What road to choose and with whom to walk along that road, is what our people have to choose by themselves. Often it is not easy to reach that simple understanding if behind a democratic facade imperialistic way of thinking is hidden.

I am convinced that openness and cooperation could guarantee our success. Diversities make the whole world more beautiful and better. The richness of this world is based on the multitude of cultures. It is our obligation to preserver this for future generations.

Mr. President,
Mrs. Roelofs,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to raise this glass in honour of the Republic of Georgia, to your happiness! To friendship and cooperation between Estonia and Georgia!

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