Let me start by wishing you all a Merry Christmas!
I'm glad that Obinitsa, an old Seto village at the edge of Estonia, is the new Finno-Ugric capital of culture. Setomaa is a place with great spirit at the edge of two worlds.
The dedication and tenacity of our Setos are like a guide that teaches us all how to preserve our unique culture, even in times of difficulty and inevitable change.
Maintaining one's uniqueness, such as leelo, the old Seto polyphonic singing tradition that has been entered in the UNESCO Cultural heritage List, keeps the entire world richer.
Here, at the edge of two worlds, we can see how people can use modern possibilities for the benefit of their heritage, so that their cultural and linguistic uniqueness is heard loudly and clearly, which also supports the economic development of the region and speaks to people from many different places.
"The terrorist attack by the Russian-supported separatists in Mariupol on Saturday morning, where dozens of civilians were killed by a rocket attack and even more were injured, is a despicable and brutal crime," President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said, expressing condolences to the families of the victims and wishing the injured a quick recovery.
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves sent his condolences to King Salman of Saudi Arabia on the occasion of the death of his predecessor, King Abdullah.
The President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, and the Speaker of the Swedish Parliament (Riksdag), Urban Ahlin, held a meeting today, at which they discussed issues including the aggressive behaviour and actions of Russia in Ukraine and the subsequent impact on the security environment in Europe and regional safety. They also discussed defence co-operation between Estonia, Sweden and the Nordic countries, and partnership with NATO. The Estonian Head of State described the contribution of both Sweden and Finland to regional and global safety as remarkable, recalling both bilateral defence co-operation and the Nordic Battle Group.