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Ilves Focuses on Security in Parliament Session Opening Speech

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said at the opening of the fall parliamentary session that Estonia is better protected than ever before and that this was reaffirmed by US President Barack Obama's visit last week.

Ilves said Ukraine was at war, and that the war was initiated by a country that is just a few hundred kilometers from Tallinn. “The masks have fallen,” Ilves told Parliament today.

“We see how Russia continues to isolate itself from democratic nations,” he said, adding that Russia supported separatists in Ukraine, then sent in its own army.

“Russian security service FSB kidnapped an Estonian citizen from Estonian soil and took him to a prison in Moscow and even bans the Estonian consul from meeting the Estonian citizen,” Ilves said, adding that Estonia will do everything possible, with the help of its allies, to make sure the officer, Eston Kohver, is returned home quickly.

“Our past decision - to embrace democracy, a rule of law, the European Union and NATO - is now our best defense,” Ilves said.

Speaking on other topics, Ilves said Estonia must have one aim, to create the best living environment in the world. “As we are a small nation changes can be implemented quickly. Finding and implementing the best ideas is easier here than in larger nations,” he said.

He said such a state has no room for belittling others and must be tolerant and liberal. He said he is happy that the same-sex cohabitation bill is finally in front of MPs.

“The current group of MPs has done many things right, in my opinion,” he said, adding that turning some of the People's Assembly initiatives into law bought people closer to power.

“I implore all political parties: be constructive in your criticism. Show clear and implementable programs. Use the pre-election period to compare possible scenarios for the future, to debate their possible advantages and minuses,” Ilves said.

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