Bush and Rice en route to Tallinn

  • 2006-09-13
  • By Joel Alas
TALLINN - U.S. President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will visit Estonia on Nov 27 's 28, the Foreign Ministry announced last week. Their visit will come ahead of the scheduled NATO summit, to take place in Riga Nov. 28 's 29. Their schedule will include meetings with the yet-to-be elected Estonian president and Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, as well as other government leaders.

It will be the first time a sitting U.S. head of state has visited Estonia.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said Bush's visit would cement growing relations between the two NATO members, and recalled that the United States never recognized the annexation of Estonia by the Soviet Union.
The exact details of where Bush and Rice will stay have not been announced. During previous visits to the Baltics, U.S. presidential entourages have occupied entire hotel buildings.
The president's plane, Air Force One, is scheduled to land at Tallinn Airport on the evening of Nov. 27. It will depart again on Nov. 28 for Riga.

The last time a visit of similar scale occurred was in 2005, when British Prime Minister Tony Blair met with the Baltic heads of government in Tallinn.
Bush's visit will come hot on the heels of a Baltic tour by Queen Elizabeth II. The British monarch is due to arrive in Estonia on October 19. Last week, a selection committee picked the design of a shawl to be given to the Queen as a present.
The embroidered shawl was chosen out of 55 works of art submitted for consideration, and features an Estonian national stripped pattern.