On the occasion of Vice President Biden's visit to Latvia, we, the United States of America, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, reaffirm our strategic alliance. Faced with an unpredictable security environment, we commit to deepening our cooperation and our efforts to ensure security and stability in the region, as part of NATO's approach to collective defense.
Today I have the honour to host US Vice President Joe Biden and my Baltic colleagues, President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite and President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves, in the newly renovated Riga Castle in Riga. The visit of the US Vice President takes place at the time significant for the Baltic States. The NATO Summit in Warsaw was convened just a month and a half ago, which led to historically important decision for us, that is, strengthening of the allied presence in the Baltic States and Poland. That is a part of the collective defence and deterrence policy the Alliance strengthens in response to the security challenges at the borders of NATO. We are grateful for solidarity and unity of all the allies in this decision-making process.
With solemn ceremony of renewal of the guard of honour and hoisting of the Standard of the President of Latvia at the Tower of Holy Spirit at the Riga Castle, President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis started working at the Riga Castle today. The solemn ceremony was also attended by former President of Latvia Guntis Ulmanis and Mrs. Aina Ulmane, Valdis Zatlers and Mrs. Lilita Zatlere, and Andris Bērziņš.
“I am confident that we are ready to defend Latvia. Year 1940 will never be possible again, when we had to give Latvia away without a single shot, as the government had decided not to resist the aggression,” emphasized President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis in his speech at the celebration of the 25thanniversary of Latvian National Guard. He thanked the national guards for their selfless service to Latvia and promotion of the love towards our fatherland among Latvian population.
Madam Speaker, Distinguished Members of the Supreme Council, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Today we are here to celebrate the freedom and independence of our Latvia. On this day 25 years ago, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia adopted the Constitutional Law “On the Statehood of the Republic of Latvia”. On this basis we renewed Latvia’s independence which was first proclaimed on 18 November 1918.
President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis returns to his permanent residence at Riga Castle in the morning on August 22 when the guard of honour will be restored at the Riga Castle and the Standard of the President of Latvia will be hoisted on the Tower of the Holy Spirit in a solemn ceremony.
When meeting with the new Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Lithuania to Latvia Artūras Žurauskas during his accreditation visit, President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis emphasized that the two neighbouring countries should continue to develop the existing successful cooperation henceforth as well both on the level of heads of state and governments and in trade, culture, and cross-border cooperation projects.
President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis awarded the Order of Three Stars to opera singer Aleksandrs Antoņenko for his merits in culture, bright artistic performance, and outstanding achievements in the art of opera on August 16. The artist was presented the Order of Three Stars, Class III whereby he was appointed as Commander of the Order of Three Stars.
Vice President of the United States of America Joe Biden will visit Latvia on August 23 and shall meet the leaders of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. He will also participate in bilateral meetings with President Raimonds Vējonis and Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis of Latvia.
When drafting the state budget for the next year, efficient use of budgetary funds must be ensured so that necessary reforming of state administration would be continued, according to President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis.