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The President of the Republic met with the Prime Minister of Iceland

President Arnold Rüütel met with the Prime Minister of Iceland Geir H. Haarde.President Rüütel today at Kadriorg met with the Prime Minister of Iceland Geir H. Haarde.

At the meeting, both sides expressed mutual opinion that the relations between Estonia and Iceland are developing well. Both parties recalled the events of fifteen years ago when Iceland was the first state to re-recognize Estonia's independence. Geir H. Haarde, being the leader of the biggest parliamentary group and a member of the foreign affairs committee, was present at the signing of that historical document. The Prime Minister said that it is a great honor for him to unveil a memorial plaque dedicated to that event on Iceland Square in Tallinn.

The President of the Republic said that such a decision of Iceland was a bold signal to the rest of the countries and the following rapid changes had an impact on developments in the entire Europe. ''A special bond that was then built between Estonia and Iceland and mutual sympathy between our two nations is a good base on which to further develop our bilateral relations. Based on my personal experience I can confirm that experiences of Iceland deserve to be studied closely - for example, Iceland is creatively using all possibilities to advance its economy being aware that today it is not possible to accelerate the development of economy without employing scientific achievements,'' President Rüütel said.

Prime Minister Haarde pointed out that the development of economy in Estonia and Iceland shows that in order to be successful it is not necessary to be big but to do right things. ''There are reforms also in our economy - liberalization, reduction of taxes and privatization,'' the head of Iceland's government listed. He added that while developing its economy Iceland maintains responsibility for its rich natural resources. At the same time, Geir H. Haarde considered Estonia's development remarkable, among other things advancement of economy and wellbeing of people, and guaranteeing currency stability. In his words Iceland is interested in enhancement of mutual investments, exchange of financial services and trade and increasing volume of tourism with Estonia. In addition to that new possibilities could be certainly found also in the field of culture.

Also Estonian viewpoint concerning the development of the EU Neighborhood Policy, current political and economic developments in Ukraine, Moldova and the Southern Caucasus were discussed at the meeting. President Rüütel stressed that the existence of international support is extremely important for continuing of reform processes in these countries.

Public Relations Department of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, August 22, 2006

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