Stenbocki maja. Foto: Kaupo Kalda
Otse istungilt. Stenbocki maja_allikas Kaupo Kalda
Washington D.C, 9 Nov, 2019 – Prime Minister Jüri Ratas gave the opening speech today at the annual Joint Baltic American National Committee Conference, emphasising the historic importance of the Committee in preserving the unity of the Baltic States and defending their interests in the United States.
“Today is a historic day as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. This event played an important role in ending the Cold War and unifying the continent of Europe, but the Baltic States were only starting their journey to Europe. A few months before that, hundreds of thousands of people were standing in the Baltic chain that led from Tallinn to Vilnius,” said Ratas.
“Back then, we did not know where that journey would take us, but today, it is clear how far we have come. This year, we celebrated the 15th anniversary of the membership of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in the European Union and NATO. Our independence is protected thanks to our friends and allies.”
The Prime Minister noted that it is highly symbolic that the Joint Baltic American National Committee was established in 1961, the same year as the Berlin Wall was erected. “Walls separate, but the Committee has been a unifying force from the outset. You reminded the world of the fate of the occupied Baltic states and gave hope of freedom to those who were left behind in their homeland,” said Ratas.
The purpose of the Joint Baltic American National Committee is to protect the interests of the Baltic community and the Baltic States in the United States Congress and Administration.
Ratas will also visit the state of Maryland today. The prime minister will meet Major General Timothy Gowen, commander of the National Guard of Maryland, lay a wreath on the grave of Senator John McCain, and visit the Naval Academy in Annapolis. The state of Maryland has close ties with Estonia. In August, the Cabinet approved the Memorandum of Cooperation between the Estonian Government and the U.S. state of Maryland.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas will also be attending a gala dinner at the Estonian American National Council and give a speech there.