US embassy officials in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania issued a statement commemorating the 20th anniversary of President George H. W. Bush's announcement that the United States had formally reestablished diplomatic relations with the governments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
It was on September 2, 1991, several days after the coup that brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union, that US President Bush announced the formal recognition of Baltic independence.
Michael C. Polt, the US ambassador to Estonia, stated on September 1: "The special ties between the United States and Estonia have only become stronger with each passing year since that historic speech."
"Fundamentally, Estonia has emerged from the darkness of Soviet occupation to become a model for others as a leader in government transparency, innovation, and economic reform."
To commemorate the 20-year milestone, the US State Department in Washington is hosting a special photo exhibition of the 1991 events in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in the Department's Exhibition Hall, which will be capped by a reception on September 8.
Notably, the United States - along with many other Western states - never recognized the forcible incorporation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania into the Soviet Union during World War II.
This gave the Baltic independence movements both moral and legal authority throughout the half-century of Soviet occupation.