Estonian president, prime minister to take turns hosting Pope

Pope Francis in Aglona, Latvia, where he celebrated Holy Mass.
Pope Francis in Aglona, Latvia, where he celebrated Holy Mass. Source: AFP/Scanpix

President Kersti Kaljulaid and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) will take turns hosting Pope Francis during his one-day visit to Estonia on Tuesday, as neither of them will be in Tallinn for all of Tuesday due to the UN General Assembly taking place in New York.

Kaljulaid will meet the Pope at Tallinn Airport on Tuesday, and host a reception in honour of the head of the Catholic Church at Kadriorg to be attended by President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor (SDE) and members of the government with the exception of the prime minister, said Lauri Bambus, director general of the State Protocol Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The president will meet with the Pope in her offices, after which they will attend a reception for Estonian politicians, cultural figures and other dignitaries at the Rose Garden in Kadriorg. Both the Pope and the president are to deliver speeches at the reception.

Following the Rose Garden reception, the president and the Pope will take part in an ecumenical youth meeting at St. Charles' Church at around noon. Kaljulaid will then board a plane for New York, as she is to deliver a speech at the UN on Estonia's behalf on Wednesday morning Estonian time.

Ratas, who is currently in New York, is scheduled to arrive in Tallinn shortly after 13:00 EEST on Tuesday. He will represent the leaders of Estonia at the Holy Mass to be celebrated by Pope Francis at Freedom Square, and later see him off at the airport, Bambus said at a press conference on Monday.

"Typically, several meetings are scheduled within the framework of state visits, and visits of the rank of state visit," the ministry official explained. "But these visits always take place over the course of several days. Since His Holiness the Pope will be in Estonia for one day, in fact for ten hours, it has been arranged that the president will welcome and the prime minister see off [the Pope]."

Bambus noted that Kaljulaid, Ratas and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE) are all also busy attending the UN General Assembly this week.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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