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Baltic Americans Rally in Washington, DC in Support of Georgia - Statement on Russian Invasion of Georgia (Estonian American National Council)

August 17, 2008 JBANC Press Release: For Immediate Release
Contact Karl Altau: tel. 301-908-2579

Washington, DC (JBANC) --- Demonstrations in support of Georgia against Russian aggression were attended in Washington, DC on August 15 and 16 by approximately 500 people, including a large number of Baltic-Americans.

The Estonian American National Council (EANC) released a statement regarding the Russian invasion of Georgia which was read at a rally in front of the White House on Friday, August 15. Marju Rink-Abel, the President of EANC, read the statement (see below).

A second rally on August 15 was held in front of the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) spoke at that protest, lending support to Georgia and mentioning his letter to congressional leadership proposing a "nine point plan to sanction Russia and strengthen ties to Central and Eastern Europe (CEE)."

Other participants at the protests besides Rink-Abel, who concurrently serves as president of the Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC), included Gustavs Plato of the American Latvian Association (ALA), and JBANC, Raits Eglitis of ALA, and JBANC

Managing Director Karl Altau, who read a statement on behalf of the Central and East European Coalition (CEEC) in support of Georgia:

Statement on Russian Invasion of Georgia

The Estonian American National Council is the nationally elected body representing Estonian Americans. We strongly condemn the Russian invasion of Georgia, and call upon the United States and its allies to take all measures necessary to pull back Russian troops from Georgia. The destruction of Georgian cities, facilities, and homes, and the loss of life must end.

The actions of Russia show its true colors. It wants to restore its control over the countries on its borders and will use whatever means to do so. The United States’ reaction to these events is critical to the stability and freedom of all countries formerly under Soviet occupation. The United States must immediately begin work with Europe and NATO to show Russia that its actions jeopardize its standing and relations in the world of free nations. The United States must also implement all meaningful sanctions against Russia. Further, the United States must work with all East and Central European countries to jointly strengthen their ability to maintain their democracies and gains achieved since their independence.

Estonian Americans stand with Georgians in this difficult time!

Statement by the Central and East European Coalition (CEEC):

Caption: JBANC President Marju Rink-Abel reads EANC Statement in support of Georgia at White House rally on August 15.

The Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC) represents the American Latvian Association (ALA), the Estonian American National Council (EANC), and the Lithuanian American Council (LAC).

Octobr 17, 2008 - President Bush Discusses the Visa Waiver Program
Office of the Press Secretary/ White House News

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. (Applause.) Please be seated, thank you. Welcome to the White House. I'm pleased to stand with the representatives of seven countries -- the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and South Korea -- that have met the requirements to be admitted to the United States Visa Waiver Program. Soon the citizens of these nations will be able to travel to the United States for business or tourism without a visa. I congratulate these close friends and allies on this achievement, and I thank you for joining us here.

I also thank Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of the Homeland -- Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff for working hard to make sure this day has finally arrived. Appreciate other members of the administration here and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

The Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc.
400 Hurley Avenue
Rockville, MD 20850-3121
tel. 301-340-1954
fax: 301-309-1406