Foreign Ministry State Secretary Visits the US

24.03.2004. 14:57

From August 26 - 29, the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Latvia State Secretary Maris Riekstins is staying for a visit in the United States.

During the visit Maris Riekstins is having meetings at the US State Department, the National Security Council and the Department of Defense. The main discussion subjects are the US-Baltic Charter, the Foreign Ministers of the Baltic and the Nordic countries (5+3) meeting on 3-4 September in Bergen, NATO enlargement after the Madrid Summit, the EU enlargement process, Latvia's direction towards the World Trade Organization as well as relations with Russia.

On 27 August, State Secretary Maris Riekstins met with the Head of the National Security Council Stephen Flanagan. At the State Department Maris Riekstins met with the Deputy Assistant of the State Secretary Ronald D. Asmus. State Secretary Maris Riekstins also had a meeting at the US Defense Department in Pentagon where he met the First Deputy Assistant to the Defense Secretary Fred Smith.

On 27 August in Washington, the State Secretary Maris Riekstins continued consultations on the US-Baltic Charter as well as European security and regional cooperation issues. Maris Riekstins met high ranking officials at the US State Department, the National Security Council and the Department of Defense. In the process of talks both sides agreed that harmonization of the text of the US-Baltic Charter will be finished in the nearest future. It is expected that the Charter will be signed by the highest level officials in November or December.

Diplomats discussed the preparation works needed for Latvia's integration into the united Europe and its membership in NATO. They also agreed to continue and strengthen cooperation in the context of the Baltic Action Plan.

When evaluating the prospects of regional cooperation, a special attention was paid to expansion of cooperation between the Baltic and the Nordic states as well as more active participation of all the Baltic sea states, including Russia, Germany and Poland in these cooperation projects.

In the process of talks diplomats exchanged views on positive influence of the EU enlargement on security and stability in the region and concluded that talks on Latvia's, Lithuania's and Estonia's accession to the EU need to be started in the nearest future. The parties discussed also preparation for the Nordic and the Baltic states' Foreign Ministers meeting which will take place on 3 September in Bergen, Norway. High ranking officials from the US administration are expected to take part in the meeting.

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