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The President of the Republic of Malta begun his state visit to Estonia

On the invitation of President Lennart Meri, Guido de Marco, the President of the Republic of Malta, and Mrs. Violet de Marco, as well as Austin Gatt, the Minister of Justice of Malta, and other representatives of state, arrived on a state visit to Estonia today. This afternoon, the official welcoming ceremony took place in front of the Kadriorg Palace; the orchestra of the Estonian Defence Forces played the national anthems of Malta and Estonia, and the two Heads of State inspected the Company of Honour.

The Presidents exchanged decorations – the President of the Republic of Malta received the Grand Cross with Collar of the Estonian Order of St. Mary's Land and Mrs. Violet de Marco received the I Class Order of the Cross of St. Mary's Land. President Meri was conferred the Companion of Honour of the Maltan National Order of Merit with Collar. Estonia's presents to the presidential couple of Malta were the carpet ''The Lost City'' by textile artist Ehalill Halliste and a silk scarf designed by Liivia Leškin.

On the meetings, the similar steps and visions of Estonia and Malta on accession to the European Union were discussed. As the President of Malta said, Malta offers to the EU her experience gained from relations with the countries on the northern and the southern coast of the Mediterranean, as well as the countries of Middle East. From Estonia, experience of relations with Russia could be obtained, he added. It was stated that the relations of the two countries are good, and that accession to the European Union would add strength to the voices of both Malta and Estonia. Tonight, President Lennart Meri and Mrs. Helle Meri will host a dinner in honour of the presidential couple of Malta at the House of Blackheads in Tallinn; at dinner, the two Presidents will deliver festive speeches.

Tomorrow, President de Marco will have a meeting with Toomas Savi, the Chairman of the Riigikogu, and Prime Minister Mart Laar at Toompea. President Meri will guide the walk at Toompea and in the Old Town, to be followed by a meeting with the municipal authorities at the Tallinn Town Hall and a concert at the St. Nicholas Church. In the afternoon, the Heads of State of Malta and Estonia and the accompanying delegations will travel by train to Tartu; at the Tartu Town Hall, there will be a meeting with Jaan Õunapuu, the Tartu County Governor, Peeter Tulviste, Chairman of the Tartu City Council, and Andrus Ansip, the Mayor of Tartu. The President of Malta will also have a meeting with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Uno Lõhmus and host a reception at the Tartu University History Museum on the Dome Hill.

On Friday, President de Marco will meet Volli Kalm, the Vice-Rector of Tartu University, and deliver an academic lecture at the Assembly Hall of Tartu University. The press conference of the President of Estonia and the President of Malta will take place at the Atlantis Conference Centre. Andrus Ansip, the Mayor of Tartu, will host a lunch at the Atlantis Restaurant in honour of the President of Malta and the President of Estonia. The President of Malta and his spouse will conclude their state visit to Estonia on Friday afternoon.

Press Service of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, May 2, 2001


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