On 28 June, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics met with the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who had arrived in Latvia for a bilateral visit.
During the meeting the topics of strategic partnership between Latvia and the U.S. were discussed, including NATO agenda, the prospects for Latvia’s accession to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, development processes in the EU Eastern neighbourhood, Latvia’s role in the functioning of the Northern Distribution Network and the potential for its commercialisation, Foreign Affairs Ministry reports.
Also, two memorandums of understanding were signed: on cooperation in the implementation of the Fulbright Academic Exchange Programme and regarding assistance in Moldova in the field of justice sector reform.
Latvian Foreign Minister and the US Secretary of State confirmed the historic bond that linked both countries and manifested itself in US support for Latvia’s independence during the years of Soviet occupation, regaining independence and the processes of integration into the Euro-Atlantic space. Both parties expressed confidence in their common vision on the fundamental values the countries share and future cooperation. The importance of Baltic-American Freedom Foundation was accentuated for the strengthening of academic and educational links between Latvia and USA.
While speaking about security policy matters, Rinkevics confirmed his commitment within the NATO collective security and stressed the goal of gradually bringing back the defence funding to the level of 2% of GDP. Participation in NATO international missions and the Baltic air-policing was also discussed.
Minister Rinkevics and Secretary of State Clinton agreed that the involvement in Afghanistan should be maintained after 2014 and confirmed readiness to provide support for the development of the Afghan Security Forces, as well as exploring possibilities to cooperate in projects of civilian nature in Afghanistan and other countries of the region.
Clinton recognised that Latvia could be a role model not only for putting in place structural reforms and overcoming economic crisis, but also for carrying out its obligations as a NATO member country.
The visit if the US Secretary of State concluded in the US Embassy. Clinton noted that the continued Latvia-US diplomatic relations over 90 years is a testament for the continuity of strategic partnership between both states that even the long years of Soviet occupation could not break.
During her bilateral visit, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also met with the President of Latvia Andris Berzins, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis, as well as taking part in a discussion with Latvian youth representatives.