On 26 January each year, we are celebrating the day of the international recognition of the Republic of Latvia. 102 years ago, Latvian diplomats had successfully reached a major milestone: at the meeting of the Supreme Council of the Allied Powers with participation of the Prime Ministers of Belgium, France, Great Britain, and Italy, and the representative of Japan – it was decided to grant de jure recognition to Latvia.
On the eve of the celebration, at an official reception on 25 January 2023, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs underlined: “The past year was very complicated, very challenging. Largely, it was the year of Ukraine. I can express my admiration for the Ukrainian people, for their spirit of resistance demonstrated in the fight against Russian aggression. I am very proud that, from the very first hours of Russia’s aggression, the society, the people, and the diplomatic corps of Latvia were providing, and continue providing Ukrainians with great military, practical, political and moral assistance. This is the merit of our society, of our cooperation partners and of our diplomats as well. I would like to put the spotlight on our colleagues who have been working and continue working at our embassies in Ukraine and Poland, and those who are also working at the embassy in Moscow and the consulate in Vitsebsk, in difficult conditions. And those at the Ministry – be it the sanctions or development cooperation policy, or bilateral cooperation, or security policy. They have accomplished much and will keep going in order to strengthen security and resilience of our country, and help Ukraine.”
At the time when Russia is targeting Ukraine with an unprovoked full-scale military aggression, the fundamental tasks defined by Latvia in its foreign policy – safeguarding the independence of the state, sustainable security and the welfare of its people – and the work of diplomats acquire an increased importance.
Edgars Rinkēvičs thanked the Foreign Ministry diplomats and presented them with the Certificates of Recognition from the Cabinet of Ministers for their contribution to the work of the Foreign Service and shaping of the national foreign policy. The Certificates of Recognition from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were presented to members of the Foreign Service and representatives of partner organisations for their significant personal contribution made for the benefit of the Foreign Service and the Latvian state.
For more than a century, Latvian diplomats had to prove their ability to work under various conditions and find solutions in complicated situations: state formation, the establishment of a foreign service and the difficult path to international recognition, the period of occupation, when the Foreign Service was the only public authority of the Republic of Latvia which continued performing its functions, the restoration of Latvia’s independence, and the work of the Foreign Ministry in the representation, cooperation and development of their state.
Those invited to the official festive event to mark the international recognition of the Republic of Latvia included Ministers, members of the Saeima, Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary accredited to the Republic of Latvia, foreign Honorary Consuls, former ambassadors, retired employees of the Ministry, and other cooperation partners.
As every year, the Minister also met with the non-resident Ambassadors to Latvia for a discussion on current foreign policy developments.
Each year, on the eve of the de jure recognition of Latvia, the Foreign Ministry staff commemorate their colleagues who have passed away and pay tribute to their contribution to Latvia’s foreign policy aspirations. Last year, we bid a final farewell to a former Foreign Minister, diplomat and doctor, Georgs Andrejevs, and former ambassadors Valdis Krastiņš and Jānis Eichmanis. At the Meža kapi cemetery, the Foreign Minister together with colleagues lays flowers at the final resting places of Zigfrīds Anna Meierovics, Jānis Čakste, Gunārs Meierovics and other former members of the Foreign Service.
The international de jure recognition of the Republic of Latvia meant that our state became a subject of international law, and it could establish diplomatic relations with other states, appoint envoys, accede to international conventions, enter into multilateral agreements, take part in and organise international conferences.