Sen. Voinovich and other Senate supporters of Estonia resolution thanked by JBANC

Thanking Senator George Voinovich are (L to R): Karl Altau (JBANC), Jeannie Siskovic (Office of Sen. Voinovich), Marju Rink-Abel (president, Estonian American National Council), Erik Puskar (Estonian American National Council and JBANC) Janis Bolsteins (American Latvian Association and JBANC).

JBANC Press Release - May 5, 2007
contact: Karl Altau (301-340-1954)

Washington, DC (JBANC) --- On Friday, May 4 members of the Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC) met with Jeannie Siskovic, Foreign Policy advisor to Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), to thank the Senator for his support in condemning the recent violence and attacks against Estonia.

Legislation (S. Res. 187) that was introduced by Senator Voinovich and co-sponsored by Senators Joseph Biden (D-DE), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), and Gordon Smith (R-OR), quickly passed in the Senate by unanimous consent on the evening of Thursday, May 3.

The text of a press release issued by Senator Voinovich on the issue is given below.

JBANC is urging members of the Baltic-American community to contact and thank the supporters of S. Res. 187. Concerned individuals are also being asked to continue communicating with Members of Congress, the media, and the United States government regarding the issue.

The members of JBANC also met on May 4 at the office of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) to appraise his staff about the situation. In addition the following Senate offices were contacted by JBANC: Mikulski, Biden, Lieberman, Smith, Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Richard Durbin (D-IL).

PHOTO Caption:

Thanking Senator George Voinovich are (L to R): Karl Altau (JBANC), Jeannie Siskovic (Office of Sen. Voinovich), Marju Rink-Abel (president, Estonian American National Council), Erik Puskar (Estonian American National Council and JBANC) Janis Bolsteins (American Latvian Association and JBANC).



May 4, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A resolution introduced by U.S. Senator George V. Voinovich (R-OH), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, expressing support for Estonia and condemning the recent outbreak of violence in Estonia and against its embassies in Moscow and around the world passed the Senate last night. The resolution denounces the violence, vandalism and looting that has taken place in Estonia, as well as the attacks and threats against its embassies and officials in Russia and other countries. Senators Joseph Biden (D-DE), Gordon Smith (R-OR), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) are original co-sponsors of the resolution.

“The United States Senate stands in solidarity with the Estonian people as they cope with the current unrest and work to bring it to an end,” Sen. Voinovich said. “We are deeply concerned about the violence and vandalism that has been perpetrated against the Estonian embassy and its officials overseas. Violence and intimidation in the region is a dangerous relic of the Soviet era and I call on my Senate colleagues to join me in condemning this outrage."

The resolution expresses the sense of the Senate that all governments should condemn this violence, encourage peaceful protests and oblige by their commitments to the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations. It also supports the efforts of the Estonian government to initiate a dialogue with the Russian government to resolve the crisis peacefully and to sustain cooperation between their two sovereign, independent states.

Riots broke out in Tallinn for several days following the government’s decision Wednesday to transfer a Soviet memorial statue out of the city center to another military cemetery where the war dead are honored. Members of the Russian Duma visited Estoniaon April 30 and issued an official statement calling for the resignation of the Estonian government. For several days, the Estonian embassy in Moscow was surrounded by angry protestors and youth groups who tore down the Estonian flag from the building and harassed and assaulted embassy officials, including Ambassador Kalijurand. They also attacked the car of the Swedish Ambassador to Russia as he left the Estonian embassy.

Estonia was forced to close its embassy and suspend consular services to Moscow because conditions remained unsafe for embassy officials. The Estonian government also reported cyber attacks on its government Web sites that they claim were traced to the Kremlin.

Estonia gained independence from Russia in 1918, but was forcibly reincorporated in 1940. The Soviet Army drove out the occupying Nazis from Estonia during World War II, for which the Bronze statue was erected. Estonia , now in NATO, gained independence once again in 1991.

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