Estonian, Latvian presidents hail relations

  • 2016-10-21
  • BNS/TBT Staff

RIGA - Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid and Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis emphasised the strength of their nations’ relationship during the new Estonian president’s first trip to the neighbouring Baltic State.

Kaljulaid feels that relations remain unaffected by her decision to visit Finland instead of Latvia for her first trip abroad, asking the press in Riga not to "jump to conclusions" regarding her decision. She noted the importance of maintaining contacts with nearby countries. "I cannot be in two places at once," she said.

The Estonian president said she has been keeping close watch on developments in Latvia. She voiced satisfaction with the fact that many Latvian companies are doing business in Estonia and asked both nations to continue deepening their economic co-operation. As an example, she pointed to the Rail Baltica project, adding that she hopes for early implementation of the project.

Vejonis agreed that relations between the two nations have been positive, and said he feels that Estonia and Latvia can solve any conflict that may arise.

The Latvian president also said he expects to visit Finland in 10 days to discuss closer collaboration in the Baltic region.

"We do not need to shy away from learning from our neighbours. We can learn a lot from Estonia, as they already have many things that we are only just planning to implement," Vejonis remarked, adding that the nations should share their experiences of solving various problems.

Vejonis said at a press conference that he and Kaljulaid were both trained as biologists, allowing them to collaborate in making the Baltic region the greenest in the world.

Kaljulaid added that she and the president of Latvia exchanged phone numbers in order to stay in touch whenever necessary.

Kaljulaid on Oct. 20 visited Finland, where she met with President Sauli Niinisto.

Her predecessor Toomas Hendrik Ilves began both his tenures with a visit to Latvia, whereas the Estonian president before Ilves, Arnold Ruutel, made his first visit to Finland after election in 2001.