Bush To Visit Estonia, Latvia, Attend NATO Summit

Washington - President Bush plans to travel to Europe to attend the NATO Summit November 28-29 in Riga, Latvia, the White House announced September 7. The president’s itinerary also includes a visit to Estonia.

The purpose of the president's visit to Estonia and Latvia is to “underscore the importance of the alliance in fostering a Europe whole and free by highlighting new allies that have successfully transitioned to free-market democracies, contribute to the War on Terror, and offer lessons learned and expertise to others pursuing liberty,” the White House said in a September 7 statement on the trip.

Scheduled to be in Estonia on November 28, Bush plans to meet with Estonian President Arnold Ruutel and Prime Minister Andrus Ansip. 

He then will travel to Riga where, in addition to participating in the NATO Summit, he will meet with Vaira Vike-Freiberga, the president of Latvia, and NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

During the NATO Summit, Bush plans to discuss with NATO leaders “how to improve Alliance capabilities to ensure it can meet the challenges of the 21st century,” the White House said. (See related article.)

The White House concluded its statement by casting the trip as “part of a series of presidential trips to Europe which underscore the common commitment of the United States and our European allies to work together to advance democracy, security, and prosperity in Europe, its neighborhood, and beyond.”

The visit to Estonia will be Bush’s first to that nation.

President Bush last met with the presidents of Latvia and Estonia on May 7, 2005, in Riga, during a trip that also included stops in the Netherlands, Russia and Georgia for ceremonies commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. (See related article.)

For additional information about the president’s May 2005 trip and events commemorating the end of World War II in Europe, see “President Commemorates VE Day in Europe.”