Estonian leaders have offered their condolences to the US after the death of the 41st President of the Union, George H.W. Bush. Mr Bush was 94.
Reactions from Estonian leaders
President Kersti Kaljulaid stated that ''Long and fruitful lives are worth celebrating. My condolences to the family of George H. W. Bush''.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas: ''President George H.W Bush was a devoted American with visions and will. He was one of the architects of the post-cold war era & a real freedom lover. His actions triggered the events that finally took us to NATO and the EU. Heartfelt condolences to the Bush family and to all Americans''.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser: ''My heartfelt condolences to the American people and the family of George Herbert Walker Bush. We will not forget his importance also for our own freedom during the turbulent times of the fall of the Soviet Union''.
Estonian Embassy to the United States: ''The role of President George H.W. Bush in restoring Estonia's independence cannot be underestimated. Thank you for your firm leadership during tumultuous times when the world changed and the Cold War came to an end. Rest in peace''.
(all reactions from social media accounts).
Mr Bush's death was formally announced a little after ten o' clock on Friday evening, CST (06.00 EET on Saturday). Mr Bush passed away in Houston, from causes not yet officially disclosed. His wife of 73 years, Barbara, died in April this year and he had been suffering from a form of Parkinson's disease since around 2012. He had had a private visit from 44th president, Barack Obama, only a few days before.
Scion of a prominent family involved in politics, sports, business and entertainment, he was the longest-lived former president from November 2017 when he outlived Gerald Ford (38th, R) who died aged 93 in 2006; Jimmy Carter (39th, D) is still living at 94. Mr Bush served as a naval aviator in World War Two and piloted a Grumman Avenger, seeing action in the Pacific theatre including being shot down over the Bonin Islands.
Mr Bush was inaugurated president from the Republican Party, having been Ronald Reagan's Vice President throughouth both the latter's terms, in January 1989 to January 1993, after losing the election to Bill Clinton (D).
He was also in office as president at the time Estonia became independent, and was instrumental in overseeing relations with the Soviet Union and its successor states during that time. This included summits and conferences with then Soviet leader Mihhail Gorbachev in Malta in 1989, Helsinki in 1990 and in Moscow 1991 when the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty was signed by both leaders. That and the US-Russian strategic partnership agreed with President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin is generally taken as the end of the Cold War. Estonia declared the restoration of its independence on 20 August 1991 following the abortive coup attempt by Soviet hardliners in Moscow. Mr Bush's term ended after he was defeated in the presidential election by Bill Clinton (D) in November the following year.
His eldest son, George W. Bush, served as 43rd President, 2001-2009.
Editor: Andrew Whyte