On 24 March, the Foreign Minister of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs met with the Minister of State for Europe of the United Kingdom, David Lidington, who was in Latvia on a working visit. The ministers in their discussion focused on the current developments in Ukraine, relations with Russia and concerted action by the EU and NATO.
The ministers were of the same opinion that the so called "referendum" recently held in Crimea and the following annexation of the region by Russia was a grave violation of international law, duly followed by a strong response from international community. The U.K. Minister of State for Europe Lidington stressed that, under those conditions, it was of vital importance to accentuate and publicly confirm that all NATO's members were united and Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty applied to all the NATO member states in absolutely equal measure.
The parties had a shared understanding that the agenda of this year's NATO Summit in Wales, UK, should also reflect the new situation after the unprecedented developments in Ukraine, when the borders of countries were forcibly changed. The ministers also stressed that an increased attention should be paid to energy security and the necessity of establishing a single European energy market.
During the discussion, Latvian Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs informed Mr Lidington about Latvia's preparations for its Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2015 and the Presidency priorities, including future development of the Eastern Partnership. The parties agreed that the Eastern Partnership should pursue a differentiated approach towards the involved countries. The ministers also discussed bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the security sector, and Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs expressed gratitude for the UK's decision to enhance its contribution to the Baltic airspace patrolling mission.
As part of the visit, UK Minister of State Lidington also meet with Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma, Minister of Defence Raimonds Vējonis and Minister of Economy Vjačeslavs Dombrovskis.
David Lidington has held the post of the Minister of State for Europe since 14 May 2010, and this is his second visit to Latvia. Mr Lidington first visited Latvia on 7-8 March 2012.