TALLINN, Estonia, March 31, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An AJC leadership delegation met with Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas during a two-day visit to the Baltic nation's capital.
The latest AJC visit to Estonia, which concluded yesterday, came immediately after AJC Central Europe, the global advocacy organization's fifth and newest office in Europe, was launched at a gala in Warsaw attended by more than 500 government officials, senior diplomats, media representatives, and AJC leaders from across the U.S and Europe.
Estonia is one of the seven countries in the region that AJC Central Europe is engaging. The others, in addition to Poland, are the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovakia. AJC delegations are visiting those countries as well, after a series of meetings in Poland, where the office is based, prior to and the morning after the gala.
"AJC Central Europe enables us to deepen our engagement with Estonia and other significant countries in this region," said Harriet Schleifer, Chair of AJC's National Board of Governors, and Steven Zelkowitz, a member of AJC's Executive Council, who co-chaired the AJC delegation. "This set of countries is vitally important to the Jewish people, as it is to both the United States and Israel. In our meetings, we welcomed Tallinn's close relations with both Washington and Jerusalem, and were heartened to hear various officials affirm these strategic partnerships."
During the visit, the AJC delegation also met with Secretary-General of the Foreign Ministry Rainer Saks, U.S. Ambassador James Melville, and Israeli Ambassador Dov Segev-Steinberg.
Moreover, the group held a festive dinner with the leadership of the Jewish Community of Estonia, an AJC partner. In attendance at the meal were members of the AJC delegation; leaders of the Jewish community; and ambassadors from Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Poland. Alla Jakobson, President of the Jewish Community of Estonia, joined the delegation throughout the visit.
Among the principal topics discussed during the visit were: (a) Estonian-U.S. relations in the new political era, (b) Estonian-Israeli bilateral and multilateral ties, (c) developments in the European Union and the Estonian identity therein, and (d) significant threats to national and regional security.
AJC engages with Estonian diplomats across the U.S. and Europe, and the global Jewish advocacy organization meets with senior Estonian officials each year on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
In August 1991, AJC became the only Jewish organization in the world to call for American recognition of the reestablishment of Baltic independence for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Several weeks later, President George H.W. Bush took that historic step. Moreover, AJC later helped in the effort to expand NATO membership to include the three nations, and welcomed their full integration into the EU in 2004.
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SOURCE American Jewish Committee