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Friday, 7 December, 2001, 08:15 GMT
Estonia scraps controversial language law

The Estonian President, Arnold Ruutel, has signed into law a bill scrapping the requirement that candidates for public office must be proficient in the Estonian language.

Correspondents say the move - which was approved by parliament last month - will benefit about one-third of Estonians who are native Russian speakers.

Officials at the United States embassy in Tallinn described the move as further proof of Estonia's successful attempt to widen and deepen its democracy.

Both the European Union and Nato - which Estonia wants to join - require potential candidates to take into consideration the difficulties faced by their minority communities.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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