On 11 August 2020 in Riga, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland, Pekka Haavisto, to jointly mark the centenary of signing the Treaty of Peace between Latvia and Russia, as well as to discuss the bilateral relations between Latvia and Finland and matters of current importance in international foreign policy, including developments in Belarus.
During the meeting, the Ministers drew attention to the centenary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Latvia and Finland to be celebrated next year. 2021 will be of special importance for us, said Edgars Rinkēvičs, as we will mark one hundred years since the establishment of our diplomatic ties. We are happy about the traditionally close and constructive cooperation between Latvia and Finland in various fields and levels. In addition, we are good partners in the EU and regional formats, the Latvian Foreign Minister underlined.
The Foreign Ministers commended the joint efforts made during the COVID-19 crisis and noted the need for closer coordination on the EU scale. Although for the most part, the Member States were acting on their own at the beginning, we have a generally positive view of the EU’s work in restricting COVID-19. Close coordination and maximum transparency both at the regional and EU level is a vital condition for successfully dealing with the consequences of COVID-19. Therefore, the EU should continue moving in the direction of lifting restrictions so as to return to normal with regard to transport and the movement of persons, and in order to facilitate economic recovery, said the Latvian Foreign Minister.
Edgars Rinkēvičs and Pekka Haavisto discussed regional issues, the security environment in the region, relations with Russia and the recent presidential election in Belarus on 9 August. Edgars Rinkēvičs called upon the Belarusian Government and law enforcement authorities to respect the civil freedoms of Belarusian people and their right to freely express their political views. The participants in protests who have been detained should be released immediately and the Belarusian authorities should refrain from the use of force against protesters, he said.
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