On 15 July, the Foreign Minister of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, together with the Foreign Minister of Iceland, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, and the Foreign Minister of Poland, Radosław Sikorski, met with the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klymkin.
Edgars Rinkēvičs emphasised the support of the Latvian people for Ukraine. The Minister said: “Ukraine’s struggle for the future and independence of its country is also Latvia’s struggle. At this critical moment, we stand together with the Ukrainian people.” The Foreign Ministers of all three countries expressed their support for the Ukrainian President’s efforts at restoring peace and stability in Eastern Ukraine for the country’s path toward integration with Europe, and reforms, which will be greatly facilitated by implementation of the Association Agreement with the EU.
The Ukrainian President expressed his sincere appreciation for Latvia’s speedy ratification of the EU Association Agreement by the Latvian Parliament (Saeima) on 14 July. “These days in Ukraine’s history are of critical significance, and it is at this moment that we highly value the support and solidarity of Ukraine’s friends in Europe,” President Poroshenko noted.
Edgars Rinkēvičs expressed satisfaction that the Latvian Parliament had ratified the Agreement unanimously and called on Ukraine to work together on putting the agreement into practice. The Minister confirmed that, during its Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of next year, Latvia will devote great attention to strengthening relations with Ukraine and the development of the Eastern Partnership initiative as a whole. “It is important for the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga scheduled for May next year to be well-prepared and ensure quality content. The introduction of visa-free travel to the states of the EU will be a tangible benefit for the people of Eastern Partnership countries”, the Minister said.
These discussions between the Foreign Ministers and the Ukrainian President took place during ongoing clashes with armed separatists in the east of Ukraine and on the eve of a meeting of EU Heads of State and Government which takes place on 16 July. The President of Ukraine confirmed his readiness for dialogue with Russia in various formats and called for the EU to use its levers of influence to promote a more constructive position by the Russian Federation so that it terminates its support for armed separatists on Ukrainian soil.
On 16 and 17 July, Edgars Rinkēvičs will continue his working visit in Ukraine. On 16 July, the Minister has several meetings in Kyiv, including with representatives from the OSCE and the Presidential Administration of Ukraine. On 17 July, the Foreign Ministers of Latvia and Iceland will go to Dnipropetrovsk to get acquainted with the situation on the ground in that important Ukrainian region.