On 15 February 2020, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, while at the Munich Security Conference, met with the Foreign Ministers of Belarus, Canada, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia to discuss bilateral relations and recent regional developments.
During the meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, Vladimir Makei, Edgars Rinkēvičs, discussed preparations for the visit to Latvia of the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko. Edgars Rinkēvičs noted that topics related to transport and logistics stand high on the agenda of bilateral relations, and they will also be raised during the Belarusian President’s visit. The Foreign Ministers also discussed the recent dialogue between the European Union and Belarus. The Latvian Foreign Minister pledged Latvia’s support for the continuing cooperation between the EU and Belarus.
The Latvian Foreign Minister also met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, François-Philippe Champagne. Edgars Rinkēvičs thanked Canada for the presence of its troops in Latvia as framework nation for the NATO enhanced Forward Presence battle group and for thereby providing considerable contribution to the strengthening of security in the Baltic Sea region. Latvia is interested in continuing a close dialogue with Canada and reinforcing mutual cooperation. In contacts with Canada, Latvia sees many common interests and pressing topics, for instance, respect for territorial integrity, strengthening of multilateralism, media freedom, women’s rights, and real action on climate change. Edgars Rinkēvičs has invited his Canadian counterpart to visit Latvia this year.
In a meeting with the Foreign Minister of Kyrgyzstan, Chingiz Aidarbekov, Edgars Rinkēvičs has welcomed the intensification of the dialogue between Latvia and Kyrgyzstan last year. The two ministers agreed to go on working on the expansion of the Latvia-Kyrgyzstan legal framework, and they underlined the need to prepare the contents for the next Intergovernmental Commission meeting in Bishkek with the view to intensifying cooperation in business and trade.
According to Edgars Rinkēvičs, Latvia is prepared to share its reform experience with Kyrgyzstan. We are happy about the bilateral project already implemented, especially in the areas of reform of local authorities, development of the civil service, home affairs and justice, said the Latvian Foreign Minister. The Foreign Minister of Kyrgyzstan expressed interest in getting acquainted with Latvia’s experience in the “green economy” and said that more active efforts must be made to address challenges posed by climate change in the Central Asian region.
Latvia will offer further support to Georgia in its reform efforts, said Minister Rinkēvičs in a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, David Zalkaliani. Latvia will also support Georgia’s aspirations of European and Euro-Atlantic integration. In this context, Edgars Rinkēvičs invited Georgia to continue reforms in its justice system, the rule of law and good governance, and he pointed out that it is vital to continue the dialogue between Georgia’s ruling party and the opposition towards a mutually acceptable agreement on an electoral system for the 2020 parliamentary elections in Georgia. During the meeting with David Zalkaliani, the Latvian Foreign Minister confirmed Latvia’s unwavering support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and condemned destructive activities by Russia in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In the conclusion of the conversation, Edgars Rinkēvičs invited the Georgian Foreign Minister to visit Latvia this March.
In a meeting with Ayman Al Safadi, Foreign Minister of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Latvian Foreign Minister discussed bilateral relations between the countries and the Middle East Peace Process. Edgars Rinkēvičs underlined that the friendly bilateral relations between Latvia and Jordan hold potential for further expansion. The Latvian Foreign Minister also expressed hope that the publication of the U.S. plan would give an impetus to intensifying the Middle East Peace Process.
In the margins of the Munich Security Conference, the Latvian Foreign Minister also had a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud. Edgars Rinkēvičs confirmed that Latvia is prepared to receive the Saudi Foreign Minister in Riga. The Latvian Foreign Minister also underlined the importance of inter-parliamentary contacts. Now that a group for cooperation with Saudi Arabia has been established in the Saeima (Latvian Parliament), the Latvian side is interested in inviting a delegation of the Shura Council to visit Latvia. The two Ministers also discussed recent developments in the Middle East and some aspects of the dialogue between the EU and Saudi Arabia.
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