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President of the Republic attended Victory Day celebrations on the island of Saaremaa

President of the Republic and Mrs Ingrid Rüütel celebrated the Victory Day on Saaremaa.

At 9.30 they attended the service at St Lawrence Church in Kuressaare. Apart from the head of state also Speaker of the Riigikogu Toomas Varek, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, members of the government and the Riigikogu as well as diplomats accredited to the Republic of Estonia and representatives of the Saare County were present.

Before lunch President Rüütel reviewed the Defence League navy parade under the command of Commander of the Defence Forces Vice Admiral Tarmo Kõuts. The head of state reviewed the parade on board Admiral Pitka, the flagship of the Estonian Navy. Estonia’s first navy parade ever hosted vessels from Estonian navy, border guard and Maritime Board, also Estonia’s Air Force helicopters and ships from Latvia, Poland, France, Sweden, Finland, UK, Denmark and an aircraft from the US.

Addressing the parade, President Rüütel stressed that besides Estonian soldiers and Defence League members, servicemen from eight states participated. “The very fact that more states are participating than ever before in our Victory Day parades reflects the solid foundation of our partnership and good cooperation in the name of common values. We welcome foreign representatives at our Victory Day parade,” said the President of the Republic.

As the supreme commander of national defence the head of state thanked the General Staff and heads of services, in particular the Commander of the Defence Forces.

The President of the Republic emphasised that cooperation between the Defence Ministry and Defence Forces as well as in a broader context was a significant keywords as regards the security of the people and state. “The Defence League serves as a good example. It brings together in the name of a common goal many members and sectors of the society. We acknowledge the work done by the late Head of the Defence League Major Benno Leesik,” said President Rüütel.

“As a small country we have limited capabilities and resources. We should make use of all the possibilities, including the will of our people to defend its state. Therefore it would be wrong to give up conscript service for the benefit of small professional units,” said the head of state.
According to the President of the Republic, security is not a commodity to be imported; it should be produced as well. “Each state is capable thereof if it acts wisely and participates in international cooperation, without forgetting, however, its homework. I am sure that this is the kind of state Estonia is,” said the head of state.

President Rüütel concluded his Victory Day address wishing everybody peace and wisdom for the benefit of the Republic of Estonia. Thereafter the President lit Victory and Midsummer Day torches to be taken by officers to each county.

After the parade the President and Mrs Rüütel attended the reception hosted by the acting Governor of Saare County Hans Teiv and Mayor of Kuressaare Urve Tiidus in Kuressaare Castle.

Public Relations Department of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, June 23, 2006

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