[FPN] No. 7, 12 - 16 November 2007

16.11.2007. 14:50


12 - 16 Nov 2007

No. 7



Foreign Minister to make first visits to Estonia and Lithuania

In brief

Accreditation of the Ambassadors of the Philippines and Albania to Latvia

Foreign Ministry returns to its historical building

Coming events

Major conference to be held in Riga: The Baltic States and the EU Neighbourhood Policy 


Foreign Minister to make first visits to Estonia and Lithuania        

On 15 November, Foreign Minister Maris Riekstins made his first visit to Estonia, and on 16 November he is visiting Lithuania.

Foreign Minister Maris Riekstins plans to discuss with both Urmas Paet, Foreign Minister of Estonia and Petras Vaitiekunas, Foreign Minister of Lithuania, the questions of bilateral co-operation and co-operation among the Baltic states as well as topical issues of the European Union and energy policy, including the construction of the Ignalina APS, relations with Russia and security policy issues, including participation by the Baltic states in international peacekeeping missions.


MFA, 13 Nov 2007


Accreditation of the Ambassadors of the Philippines and Albania to Latvia

President Valdis Zatlers accredited two non-resident foreign Ambassadors to Latvia.

The President accepted the letter of credence of the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Albania, H.E. Florent Çeliku. The Ambassador and the President discussed bilateral ties as well as cultural and economic co-operation. The meeting also focused upon the Kosovo problem and Albania's progress in reforms necessary to NATO and EU accession.

President Zatlers also accredited the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Philippines, H.E. Maria Zeneida Angara Collinson, today. The Ambassador and Dr. Zatlers discussed the politics and economics of Southeast Asia and possible co-operation between the Philippines and Latvia in the tourist industry. The President observed that tourism would be facilitated by lifting visa requirements, which could first be done for those holding diplomatic passports.


President's Chancery, 13 Nov 2007

Foreign Ministry returns to its historical building

The Foreign Ministry returns to its historical building at No. 3 Valdemara Street, where it was originally operational from July 1919 through to the occupation of Latvia in 1940.

In July 1923, the Saeima (the Parliament) passed a law concerning the building at No. 3 Nikolaja Street (as Valdemara street was then known) and on its expropriation for State needs, appropriately compensating its then owner, the Riga Mortgage Society. The expropriated building was then registered in the name of the Foreign Ministry as a property of the state.

In 1911 the Riga Mortgage Society announced a competition for the design of a banking and residential building for location by the city canal. The end result was the design by Baltic German architect August Witte (1876-1969), whose entry gained third prize, but the competition jury suggested and ordered some changes that incorporated some aspects of the first prize winner, Latvian architect Eizens Laube (1880-1967) with its building arrangement and architectonic solutions.  The construction of the building lasted from March in 1912 through to the end of 1913.  The 8th of February 1914 was the date set by the Riga Mortgage Society for the opening ceremony.

The building at No. 3 Valdemara street is a dominating free-standing building with facades, a clear design and a classical form (Ionic columns, rustic socle). It is the only early 20th Century building in the neo-classical manner to be created in Riga which most precisely reproduces pure classical design aspects. The buildings main façade and inner setting was created by designer August Volz's (1851-1926) Riga design and masonry firm. Under the outer façade is the Latin inscription Concordia parvae res crescunt (literally: In Harmony Small Things Grow).  The left side door bears the Roman numerals MDCCCLXIX-MCMXIII (reflecting the society's foundation year - 1869 and the building's construction year -1913).

In the mid-1920s state institutions in residence included the State Chancellery but the upper floors housed several apartments for senior officials. The interior decorations and ceilings including those for the Cabinet of Ministers meeting room were designed by Julijs Madernieks (1870 - 1955)

During the years of occupation, the building was taken over by German army offices and later by the Latvian communist party bureaucracy. From 1974, the building housed the Executive Committee of the Peoples Deputy Council. Since the renewal of independence of Latvia, the building housed the main offices of the Riga City Council.

In April 2006 the historical building of the Foreign Ministry was once again under reconstruction and renovation. The building's renewal, expansion and addition of security measures was prepared by the LX Group and realised by SIA Skonto buve

The ministry expresses its gratitude and congratulations to all who took part in the successful project, construction and renovation process. Engraved in the wall of the Foreign Minister's office are the words "May this building be a firm foundation to Latvia's future achievements in the international arena for ever and ever!". We are full of determination to work and to realise this ambition.

MFA, 16 Nov 2007


18 November 2007 - 89th anniversary of the Proclamation of the independent state of Latvia

21-22 November 2007 - Working visit by Ferenc Gyurcsány, Prime Minister of the Republic of Hungary, to Latvia.

Major conference to be held in Riga: The Baltic States and the EU Neighbourhood Policy

A high-level international conference entitled The Baltic States and the EU Neighbourhood Policy is to take place in Riga on 23 November. The conference is being organised by the Latvian Foreign Ministry and the Baltic Assembly in collaboration with the European Commission representation in Latvia.

Its purpose is to emphasise the role of the Baltic states in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), and to implement an exchange of experience with countries of the Mediterranean region in the implementation of the said policy. Discussions have been scheduled within the conference framework on what is common and what is different in the ENP regarding its eastern and southern dimensions; on the effective utilisation of parliamentary dialogue, in the implementation of ENP initiatives, the transferring of the reform experiences gained by the Baltic states to their eastern neighbours, as well as a common approach by the Baltic and Nordic states in the implementation of the ENP.

Taking part in the conference will be more than 200 prominent politicians and experts from approximately 30 countries around the world. Already confirmed as participating in the conference are the Speakers of all three Baltic state parliaments: Gundars Daudze Latvia, Ene Ergma, Estonia, Viktoras Muntianas, Lithuania, the Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, and the Lithuanian Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas. Among guests at the conference will be the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, the Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Armen Baiburdian, the Belarusian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei A. Yeudachenka, the Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister George Manjgaladze, and the Moldovan Deputy Foreign Minister Valeriu Ostalep, as well as the Secretary-General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, Halldor Asgrimson. Also attending the conference will be the Vice-President of the European Parliament Diana Wallis, the EU Special Envoy for the South Caucasus, Peter Semneby, and the Director of the European Neighbourhood Policy Coordination, European Commission, Rutger Wissels.

Moderating the panel discussions at the conference will be Prof. Zaneta Ozolina, Chair of the Strategic Analysis Commission, and Nils Muiznieks, Director of the Advanced Social and Political Research Institute at the University of Latvia.

The conference is taking place within the framework of the annual meeting of the Baltic Council - joint meeting of the Baltic Assembly and Baltic Council of Ministers.

More comprehensive information is available on the Foreign Ministry's website at: http://www.am.gov.lv/en/policy/4595/Presidency-at-BCM2007/Conference/.


MFA, 13 Nov 2007 





Newsletter "Latvia today: foreign policy news" is a compilation of press releases and news reports drawn from the media and official sources. Not all of the views published reflect the official position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs