World political leaders give mixed reaction to monument's removal

  • 2007-04-29
  • From wire reports
Several prominent figures in world politics have commented on Estonia's decision to move the controversial Bronze Soldier Red Army monument, and the remains buried beneath it, from the center of Tallinn to a war cemetery.

Former chancellor of Germany, Gerhard Schroeder, on Friday called the removal of a Red Army monument from the center of the Estonian capital insulting to the Russians who died fighting fascism in World War II.

In Schroeder's view, "the way Estonia dealt with the memory of those soldiers shows bad taste and disrespect."

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana has voiced support for Estonia and denounced violence in the wake of a night of unrest in the capital Tallinn.

Solana phoned President Toomas Hendrik Ilves today and said the EU understands and supports Estonia, the president's PR adviser Toomas Sildam said.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has called on Russia and Estonia to resolve their dispute over the removal of a Soviet war memorial from the Estonian capital "in a spirit of respect and conciliation," news agency AFP reports.

Ban also lamented violence in the Estonian capital Tallinn that left one person dead and dozens injured before the memorial to Red Army soldiers was removed, his spokeswoman, Michele Montas, said in a brief statement.

"The Secretary-General regrets the violence and the loss of life in Tallinn, Estonia. He appeals to all concerned to deal with the issues at hand in a spirit of respect and conciliation," Montas said.

A peaceful demonstration against the removal of a Red Army monument from the center of the Estonian capital turned into violent riots and a looting spree that left a trail of destruction in the city center. One man died after being stabbed during the rampage.