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The President of the Republic met with the Patriarch of the Georgian Church and the Prime Minister of Georgia

President Rüütel met with the Patriarch of the Georgian Church.The President of the Republic today concluded his official visit to Georgia with meeting Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II and Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli.

The President of the Republic and Mrs. Rüütel visited the best known Georgian wine region Kakheti and became acquainting with wine production at Tsinandali and Teliani Valley JSC, and Saniore vineyards.

In the evening, the President of the Republic met with His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia. The Patriarch introduced the history of the Georgian Orthodox Church and its good relations with various Christian churches. As the former Patriarch of Abkhasia, Ilia II noted that the problems endangering Georgia's territorial integrity were artificially created. ''We hope that Georgia will be once a state that is capable to assist other countries, but for the time being we still need help from Estonia.''

The Head of Estonian State thanked the Head of the Georgian Church for receiving him and spoke about Estonia’s return to the family of democratic states, saying that Georgia would certainly be capable to carry out the same reforms that were launched in Estonia. President Rüütel also spoke about the church life in Estonia, including the activities of the Council of Estonian Churches.

After that, the President of the Republic met with Prime Minister of Georgia Zurab Nogaideli. At the meeting, among other topics the issues of energy and development of roads network were discussed. Minister Savisaar emphasised that besides the development of economy, attention should be paid to solving social problems. Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli said that Estonia could contribute a lot to Georgia's court reform, and expressed readiness to organise student exchange with Estonia and mutual language learning.

The Estonian presidential couple concluded the official visit to Georgia by attending the awarding ceremony and gala dinner of the National Georgian Wine Competition 2006 ''Georgia - a Cradle of Wine'' organised by the Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry together with the National Museum of Georgia. A well-known Georgian actor, Vakhtang Kikabidze, acted as the Master of Ceremony. An international jury judged 125 different wines and 9 Georgian chachas.

Late Saturday night, the Estonian delegation together with the presidential couple starts the return trip back to Estonia. The official delegation accompanying the Head of Estonian State to his official visit to Georgia included Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia to the Republic of Georgia Paul Lettens together with his wife, Minister of Economy and Communications Edgar Savisaar, Minister of Agriculture Ester Tuiksoo, Minister of Justice Rein Lang, Vice-President of the Bank of Estonia Rein Minka, members of the Riigikogu Andres Herkel and Janno Reiljan, and Rapla County Governor Tõnis Blank.

Public Relations Department of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, May 12, 2006

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