US president arrives in Estonia

TALLINN, Nov 27, BNS – US President George W. Bush arrived in Estonia late today in what is the first visit by an incumbent US president to the country.

A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry told BNS that the president’s aircraft, Air Force One, landed at the Tallinn Airport at 22:20 hours.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Estonia together with Bush. The president is accompanied by nearly 1,000 members of his adminstration.

Bush will Tuesday meet with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Prime Minister Andrus Ansip. Ilves has earlier said that NATO should give as strong support as possible to Georgia’s NATO aspirations and that he was planning to discuss this with Bush. After their meeting Bush and Ilves will give a joint press conference in the Bank of Estonia building.

The meeting with Ansip should focus on development cooperation, missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the future of NATO, the role of Europe and the United States in the world and issues pertaining to visa freedom. The prime minister will give the US head of state a Skype telephone.

On Tuesday, Bush is also scheduled to meet people who have shared the Estonian experience in other countries. They include former Prime Minister Mart Laar, e-governance promoter Ivar Tallo, former director-general of the Rescue Board Mati Raidma, policeman Oliver Purik as well as Capt. Janno Mark and Master Sgt. Enn Adoson, members of the Estonian defense forces who have taken part in foreign missions.

The working lunch of the US president’s visit will take place in the Estonia Opera House.

The US President will leave Tallinn Tuesday afternoon, proceeding to the NATO summit in Riga.

Tallinn newsroom, +372 610 8810, sise@bns.ee