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Visiting Estonian Officials Sign an Exchange Agreement with Israel

May 16, 1989
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The Soviet Baltic republic of Estonia has signed an agreement with Israel for an exchange of experts, beginning next year.

The pact, believed to be the first of its kind with a Soviet republic, was announced by the Estonian first deputy minister of agriculture, Vello Lind, as a 12-member Estonian delegation wound up an official visit to Israel, the first ever from a Soviet republic.

Vello spoke at a farewell dinner hosted by Education Minister Yitzhak Navon. He invited an Israeli delegation to visit Tallinn, the Estonian capital, for the opening of Israeli Culture Week there next year.

Estonia is the smallest Soviet republic. The visit to Israel was organized by Andres Aarma, chairman of the Estonian Society for Friendship and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries.

Lind praised Israel’s “remarkable development” and said this was one of the most important and interesting of his visits to 28 countries.

Meanwhile, a group of Soviet Jewry activists is scheduled to leave Tuesday for Moscow to attend a conference on “Freedom of Movement” sponsored by the International Foundation for Human Development.

The foundation is headed by Nobel Laureate Andrei Sakharov, the prominent Soviet human rights activist.

The Moscow meeting is expected to be attended by several high-level Soviet officials, including Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Reshetov.

Yuri Stern, one of the Israeli delegates and spokesman for the Soviet Jewish Zionist Forum, said the group would also go to Riga, Latvia, for a meeting of the Jewish Cultural Association of Latvia.

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