On 11 March, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs met with the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier who had arrived for a working visit to Latvia.
During the meeting the ministers exchanged opinions on the developments in Ukraine and the Crimea. The ministers agreed that Russia's actions were in contradiction to international law, Russia undermined the territorial integrity of Ukraine and, at the same time, also the region's entire security architecture set up in the post-war years. Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs indicated that, in order to de-escalate the situation in the Crimea, Europe should be united in its position and agree on further action both in the short term and long term perspective. Minister Rinkēvičs stressed that the international community still hoped for common sense to prevail and the annexation of the Crime would not occur. However, if it does take place, the EU should give Russia a clear enough and effective response. Ministers Rinkēvičs and Steinmeier shared the opinion that, in case of necessity, the EU should also be ready for sanctions.
German Foreign Minister accentuated that Latvia and the Baltic states were important members of the EU and NATO, and had no reason for feeling threatened. The security of Latvia and the Baltic states is guaranteed by NATO.
In relation to the upcoming Latvian Presidency of the EU Council in the first half of 2015 and with reference to the EU Strategy for Central Asia developed during the German Presidency, the Foreign Minister expressed Latvia's interest in setting EU-Central Asia cooperation as one of priorities for the Latvian Presidency.
In the conclusion of the meeting, Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs invited the Foreign Minister of Germany to visit Riga also as the European Capital of Culture, a city that has German cultural background and preserves it.