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Declaration of the President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, following the release of Eston Kohver


Today, we will remove the yellow ribbons that demonstrated our hope and support for the return home of Eston Kohver, the Estonian Internal Security Police official who was kidnapped on 5 September of last year from the territory of the Republic of Estonia.

Eston Kohver – a tough, determined and loyal civil servant of the Republic of Estonia – is now back home again, reunited with his wife and four children.

I wish to extend my gratitude to all the people across many authorities and institutions who toiled resourcefully and with determination, step by step during this long year, for Eston Kohver's release, and who offered support to both him and his family. I would also like to thank all the compatriots who expressed their hope for Eston's return.

I also wish to acknowledge the contribution of our allies together with the international support and solidarity, which was powerful, visible and effective.

Ultimately, it was no longer about the "big" political issue or a question of special services testing each other's boundaries, but a 44 year old man who had been serving his country and who suddenly found himself in the middle of an incident, with his family awaiting his return home and a resolute effort made to bring him back.

Some of the steps taken by the Republic of Estonia were public and visible for everyone to see. However, as is common in foreign relations and in situations where the goal is to reach a tangible outcome, we only see the tip of the iceberg and many things only remain known to those involved.

When I met with the family of Eston Kohver in August, I promised that Estonia would do everything within its power to bring Eston back home. And this is what the Republic of Estonia did.