On 25 April, the Foreign Minister of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs met with the Foreign Minister of Canada John Russell Baird to discuss the situation in Ukraine, the relations with Russia and the bilateral relations between Latvia and Canada.
The ministers expressed a common position that Russia's actions in Ukraine are unacceptable, and there is no doubt that Russia is responsible for destabilising the situation in Ukraine. The parties were united about the measures to be taken to deescalate the situation. Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs indicated that in response to Russia's aggressive actions, concrete steps must be taken to strengthen the security and defence of NATO allies in the Baltic region.
John Baird confirmed that Canada takes seriously the commitments under Article 5 of NATO Charter and stands with Latvia and Baltic partners in this complicated situation. Together with the allies, Canada is ready to provide assistance to the people of Ukraine in strengthening democracy, human rights and security. "By joining efforts, the European Union member states, Canada and the U.S. can achieve more," Latvian Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs indicated.
In the context of bilateral relations, Edgars Rinkēvičs and John Baird were of the one mind that signing the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement is a matter of priority and would significantly expand opportunities for bilateral trade. The ministers commended Latvian-Canadian cooperation, including economic relations, and accentuated the cooperation potential in the aviation sector and that of mineral extraction. Canadian Foreign Minister expressed satisfaction that Latvia's national airline AirBaltic is currently using the aircraft manufactured by Canadian company Bombardier and voiced hope that the successful cooperation will also continue in the future.
During the meeting the parties also discussed preparations for the upcoming NATO summit in September and other issues on the international agenda, including Syria, Afghanistan and Latvia's Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The previous bilateral visit by a Canadian foreign minister to Latvia took place on 7-9 September 2001, when the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canadian John Manley made an official visit to Riga.