On 29–30 August 2019, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs is taking part in an informal meeting of foreign ministers of the European Union (EU), or the so-called Gymnich, in Helsinki, Finland.
In a joint session together with defence ministers, Edgars Rinkēvičs expressed support for invoking the mutual assistance clause of the Lisbon Treaty in the case of hybrid threat. A common set of instruments to counter hybrid threat would promote a comprehensive, coordinated long-term perspective on hybrid threat issues, the Foreign Minister noted.
Edgars Rinkēvičs also commended Finnish expertise and contribution to building awareness in the EU and NATO member states, including by the establishment of the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats and setting up a Horizontal Working Party to strengthen resilience and counter hybrid threat.
In a discussion on developments in the Middle East, a special focus was placed on the Persian Gulf region and Iran. Edgars Rinkēvičs welcomed diplomatic efforts by the E3 countries to reduce tensions in the Gulf Region, and the attempts to achieve that Iran returns to the full implementation of its commitments under JCPOA. The minister said that a dialogue between the United States and the EU on those matters was indispensable. At the same time, Edgars Rinkēvičs noted that Latvia was evaluating the US proposal of a free passage initiative in the Strait of Hormuz and he pointed out Latvia’s priority concerning the crisis involving the vessel Stena Impero detained by Iran was the release of the Latvian citizen.
The informal meeting referred to as the ‘Gymnich’ is a regular gathering of the EU foreign affairs ministers, organised by the Presidency of the Council of the EU on a semi-annual basis. The meetings are chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and they feature strategic discussions on the goals and instruments of EU foreign and security policy.
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