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Estonian President Affirms Role as Western Ally


Topics ranged from Estonia sending troops into Iraq and Afghanistan, questions of cyber security, and relations with Russia

Washington, D.C., June 28, 2007 - Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves affirmed his country's role as a Western ally on many fronts in an exclusive interview with the Voice of America (VOA). During the on-camera interview topics ranged from Estonia sending troops into Iraq and Afghanistan, questions of cyber security, and relations with Russia.

Discussing Estonia's memberships in NATO and the European Union and the potential complications in relations with Russia, President Ilves stated, "we are Western Allies". Then he continued, "...there are people who basically don't think that Eastern Europeans should have the same rights and freedoms as Western Europeans. I think it's a spurious argument."

Asked about Estonia's role in Afghanistan and Iraq, President Ilves commented that it is the duty of NATO democracies to support one another and said, "We are there because it's the right thing to do."

Recognizing Estonia's important role implementing computer technologies, President Ilves advocated establishing a legal framework to address the challenges of cyber security.

The interview will be broadcast on VOA's Russian language daily half hour TV news program, Focus, as well as on radio and the Internet (www.voanews.com/russian/). The interview will be broadcast at 7:00 p.m. (Moscow time) on June 29.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 115 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail publicaffairs@voa.gov.

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