Bush: end of WWII meant occupation of Baltic states

  • 2005-05-04
RIGA 's President George W. Bush has written a letter to Latvia's Vaira Vike-Freiberga in which he said that the end of the second World War signified the beginning of Soviet occupation of the Baltic states and that he would stress this point during his trip to the Latvian capital this week.

"During this trip, I will mark the sacrifice of America and many other nations in defeating Nazism. In Western Europe, the end of World War II meant liberation. In Central and Eastern Europe, the war also marked the Soviet occupation and annexation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and the imposition of communism," Bush wrote.

The U.S. president said that, given this painful history, he understands the difficulty of Vike-Freiberga's decision on whether to attend the May 9 commemoration in Moscow.

Vike-Freiberga decided to go to Moscow, while Valdas Adamkus and Arnold Ruutel will not.

"I respect the choices you and the other Baltic leaders have made," Bush said.

The U.S. president thanked his Latvian counterpart for the invitation to visit Latvia and said he was looking forward to seeing her together with Adamkus and Ruutel.

"Our meeting is an important opportunity to celebrate the freedom and security your nation now enjoys and to renew our common commitment to advancing freedom, prosperity and tolerance throughout Europe and the world," Bush wrote.

"Even as we acknowledge the past, this anniversary is an opportunity to look forward and build a future based on our shared values and our shares responsibilities as free nations. As allies and friends, our countries will work to strengthen democracy at home and advance freedom abroad. America is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with you," Bush wrote.