Stenbock House — The meeting between Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and President of the United States George W. Bush focused, above all, on the relationship between Estonia and the US, and the development of democracy in countries who are striving for freedom and stability. President Bush thanked Estonia as a brave and reliable partner in spreading peace, stability and democracy.
According to President Bush, Estonia’s success is impressive. “Estonia is a convincing example of a country that has enjoyed rapid development and improvement in people’s welfare thanks to the right decisions,” said Bush. The President also acknowledged our open worldview and highlighted Estonia’s simple and transparent taxation system.
Both Bush and Ansip admitted that bilateral relations between Estonia and the US are very good. Bush specifically emphasised Estonia’s active contribution to missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Andrus Ansip noted that, to date, the Estonian mission in Afghanistan had expanded from the original five soldiers to 130 men. Considering the size of the Estonian State, the President of the US highly values our contribution.
It is important for both countries to also support Georgia and Ukraine, where it is essential to promote democracy in order to achieve sustainable development. According to Bush, through such cooperation, Estonia can communicate its experience in developing its own state and reforms, while the US can focus on financial support.
The Prime Minister thanked President Bush for the support that the United States has offered in the restoration of Estonia's independence and our accession to NATO. “Over the last fifteen years, Estonia has developed from an aid recipient to a state that grants aid. Now it is our moral duty to help others,” said Ansip.
Prime Minister Ansip also raised the issue of visa exemption at the meeting. According to the Prime Minister, Estonia understands that the visa requirement is an important question for the US, for security reasons. “Estonia does not seek concessions concerning visa exemption. We are certain that we are able to meet all of the requirements,” said Ansip. The Prime Minister also gave assurances that Estonia would not be a threat regarding the fight against terrorism or illegal immigration.
The meeting also discussed the future of NATO and the main topics scheduled for the Riga summit.
Prime Minister Ansip gave President Bush a Skype phone as a gift. According to the Prime Minister, the gift carries a symbolic meaning. Skype embodies Estonia’s success story in various ways — software created by our people and developed in Estonia has spread all over the world, attracting nearly 140 million users. It is an excellent example of how Estonia, although a small country, can with an excellent idea and its smart implementation achieve success across the whole world.