On December 3, at an event in Lancaster House the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Jeremy Hunt, and the Ambassador of Latvia, Baiba Braže, lit a Christmas tree that had been given as a Latvian present to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
In his address the Foreign Secretary emphasised the historically friendly relations and common democratic values linking present-day societies in the UK and Latvia. Foreign Secretary Hunt congratulated Latvia on its centenary and reminded his audience of British support for Latvia during the time when its statehood was unfolding. He also recalled the UK taking a principled position on non-recognition of the occupation of Latvia by the USSR.
Baiba Braže noted in particular that the tree had arrived in London from Valka district where the foundation for an independent Latvian state had been laid more than a century ago. The Ambassador mentioned the close cooperation between the two countries in economic, cultural, educational and other spheres, and outlined prospects for the future relationship between the two countries. Ambassador Braže highlighted in particular the contribution by the Latvian diaspora in the UK to the economy and prosperity of their host country.
The Embassy of Latvia in the United Kingdom had arranged the gift of a Christmas tree with support from several cooperation partners: a tree nursery in Valka district, Romfords Ezernieki, now by tradition, donated a four-metre spruce tree, which was transported to Britain with help from BSW Timber, SIA BSW Latvia and SIA BYKO-LAT timber companies. Just as last year, the evergreen was put up in Lancaster House by diplomats and staff of the Latvian Embassy.
As an acknowledgement of the Latvian diaspora’s role in the Latvia-UK relationship, a special festive mood was created by the London Latvian Choir, which performed Latvian and British Christmas songs.