Speech by President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö
I would like to thank for this invitation. I am honoured to be delivering this key note. Lennart Meri was an exceptional individual. He lived a remarkable life during a very difficult time in Estonian history and he left a lasting mark well beyond his own country. Lennart Meri was a man of keen intellect with a good sense of humour and he never missed an opportunity for a debate. This Conference is a fitting tribute to his memory.
Today I speak also in honour of another great statesman – President Mauno Koivisto – who passed away last night. When he, as a young soldier, heard that the war had ended, he got out of the trenches carrying his gun and thought to himself “there must be another, more peaceful way of dealing with ones neighbour.” His actions towards that goal are a legacy for us all to uphold.