[FPN] No. 69, 8 - 12 June 2009

12.06.2009. 17:11

LATVIA TODAY: FOREIGN POLICY NEWS

8 - 12 June 2009

No. 69


HEADLINES

Highlights    

Visit to Latvia by the Defence Minister of Germany

In brief

10th Baltic Economic Forum takes place in Riga

Ambassador of Latvia to Bosnia and Herzegovina has submitted his credentials

HIGHLIGHTS

Visit to Latvia by the Defence Minister of Germany 

On 9 June 2009, the German Defence Minister, Dr. Franz Josef Jung, made a visit to President Valdis Zatlers of Latvia at the Riga Castle. During their meeting, the President thanked Germany for its years of support in the development of the Latvian Armed Forces, as well as for successful co-operation within NATO. President Zatlers spoke highly of the assistance which German forces have given in terms of airspace monitoring in the Baltic region. This September, Germany will take over that function for the third time. 

During their discussion, the two officials also discussed the drafting of a new strategic concept for NATO, as well as the Alliance's mission in Afghanistan. They agreed that all NATO member countries must take part in the preparation of the concept, striking a balance between the importance of Article 5 of the NATO Treaty on the one hand and NATO's mission in the face of new security challenges on the other. President Zatlers accentuated that the security interests of NATO member states must always be in first place when it comes to discussions about these matters. 

When discussing the NATO mission in Afghanistan, the two officials agreed that it is very important to focus on civilian aspects of the mission, as well as to involve Afghanistan's neighbouring countries into the process of resolving security problems so as to enhance stability in the entire region. Finally, President Zatlers and Defence Minister Jung discussed the partnership between NATO and the European Union in the matter of security policies. They agreed that this is an important way of ensuring that there is no duplication of effort when dealing with security issues.

On 10 June, the Federal Minister of Defence of Germany, Dr. Franz Josef Jung met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maris Riekstins.

During their meeting, the ministers reviewed the process of the development of NATO's new Strategic Concept. The ministers shared the opinion that the majority of fundamentals in the current NATO Strategic Concept are still valid and can be transferred to the new document. Foreign Minister Riekstins underlined that it is vital for the Strategic Concept to reflect challenges faced by the Alliance in the 21st century.

Mr Riekstins expressed gratitude for Germany's contribution to date to the airspace patrolling mission in the Baltic states. The minister emphasised that NATO's airspace patrolling policy is a powerful evidence of the indivisibility of Allied security. Moreover, the airspace patrolling mission is a clear and tangible proof of NATO presence that in its turn increases public support to NATO membership.

During the discussion, attention was devoted to the experience of NATO and EU operations, and to the development of a closer co-operation, in particular for the operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan. While reviewing the Afghanistan issue, the ministers agreed that it is vital to implement an integrated and comprehensive policy combining both military and civil resources. In addition, Minister Riekstins brought into focus the regional context, directing attention to the need for the involvement of Central Asian countries, in view of their close ties with Afghanistan and their understanding of the situation in the country.

The ministers exchanged opinions on the development of NATO partnership relations and the enlargement policy. Minister Riekstins noted that the open door policy implemented by NATO so far is to be rated as successful. The enlargement has strengthened security and stability in the Euro–Atlantic region as a whole. At the same time, the minister underlined that NATO membership is related to certain criteria to be met by every candidate country.

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President's Chancery, 9 June 2009

MFA, 9 June 2009

Ministry of Defence, 9 June 2009

IN BRIEF

10th Baltic Economic Forum takes place in Riga

The 10th Baltic Economic Forum took place in Riga, Latvia, on 12 June 2009. The Forum was opened with speeches by Mr Valdis Dombrovskis, Prime Minister of Latvia, Mr Andrius Kubilius, Prime Minister of Lithuania and Mr Henrik Hololei, Head of Cabinet for Vice President of the European Commission Siim Kallas.

The Baltic Economic Forum is an international event which has been held since 1999 and takes place in one of the Baltic states – Latvia, Lithuania, or Estonia. Since 2004, Riga has become the permanent host city of the Forum. The Baltic Economic Forum is a traditional meeting place for government officials, politicians and business leaders from the EU, the Baltic states, Russia, and the CIS countries. The Forum is an event where leading decision makers of the public and private sector meet in order to promote entrepreneurship and create new business contacts.

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Baltic Economic Forum

The Cabinet of Ministers, 11 June 2009

Ambassador of Latvia to Bosnia and Herzegovina has submitted his credentials

On 11 June, Juris Poikans, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Latvia to Bosnia and Herzegovina presented his credentials to the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nebojsa Radmanovic.    

In his address, Ambassador Poikans expressed determination to strengthen the relations between Latvia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, also acknowledging the need to develop the legal framework of bilateral agreements, to strengthen economic co-operation and contacts within international organisations. 

The Ambassador noted that Latvia – both on bilateral basis and during the Adriatic-Baltic-Atlantic meeting in March in Riga, also attended by Sven Alkalaj, Foreign Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina – has expressed its unequivocal support to Bosnia and Herzegovina's NATO aspirations. Latvia will continue to share with Bosnian and Herzegovinian colleagues the experience accumulated in its course towards the North Atlantic Alliance.

Ambassador Poikans congratulated Bosnia and Herzegovina on the signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU and confirmed that in the near future the Agreement will be ratified by the Saeima. He also expressed support to Bosnia's efforts towards visa liberalisation with the European Union.

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MFA, 10 June 2009

COMING EVENTS

15 – 16 June 2009

Foreign Minister Maris Riekstins to attend the meeting of the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

18 – 19 June 2009

Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis and Foreign Minister Maris Riekstins to participate in the European Council in Brussels, the Kingdom of Belgium

17 – 18 June 2009

Foreign Minister of Georgia, Mr Grigol Vasadze on an official visit to the Republic of Latvia

LINKS:

http://www.president.lv

http://www.saeima.lv

http://www.mk.gov.lv

http://www.am.gov.lv


The newsletter "Latvia today: foreign policy news" is a compilation of press releases and news reports drawn from the media and official sources. The views published do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs