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President of Latvia will pay an official visit to the Holy See, Sovereign Order of Malta, Italian Republic, and NATO Defence College in Rome


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To mark the centenary of relations between Latvia and the Holy See, President of Latvia Egils Levits and First Lady Andra Levite will visit the Vatican on 9-10 May and have the audience with His Holiness Pope Francis. Visit also includes meeting with Holy See’s Secretary of the State Cardinal Pietro Parolin. Following the meeting, President of Latvia will present Cardinal Parolin the state award (Commander Grand Cross of the Three Stars Order) in recognition of the State Secretary’s immense role in strengthening and deepening of relations between Latvia and the Holy See.

On 9 May, Europe Day, President of Latvia will attend the Holy Mass marking the 50 years of relationship between the European Union and the Holy See. Several other events devoted to centenary of relations between Latvia and the Holy See will also be held in Rome to mark the occasion, including launch of ‘100 years of sincerity and trust: diplomatic ties between the Republic of Latvia and the Holy See’ and a reception with sacred music performance at the Basilica Santi Quattro Coronati.

During the official visit to Italy on 11-12 May, President of Latvia will meet with his Italian counterpart, President of the Senate, President of the Chamber of Deputies and President of the Constitutional Court. First Lady Andra Levite will meet with the officials of the Italian Paralympic Committee and visit the oldest public library in Europe Biblioteca Angelica. Visit is aligned with centenary of Latvia’s de iure recognition and diplomatic relations with Italy and will also mark 30 years since Italy renewed its diplomatic ties with Latvia.

While in Rome, President of Latvia Egils Levits will visit NATO Defence College, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, to give a lecture on security policy. He will also meet with the leadership of the college.

On 11 May, while in Rome, President of Latvia will meet Sovereign Order of Malta to discuss further humanitarian, social, cultural and education cooperation between Latvia and the Order.

Latvia and Italy have built close political relations at the European Union level and Latvia highly appreciates Italy’s support in scope of NATO. Italy was the first great power to openly defend freedom aspirations of the Baltics during the 1920 General Assembly of the League of Nations and in 1921 Supreme Allied Council. Together with other allied countries, Italy recognised the Latvian State on 26 January 2921, and has never officially accepted annexation of the Baltic states by the USSR. Like other European Community countries, Italy recognised the restoration of Latvia’s independence on 27 August 1991. President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, visited Latvia in 2018 to take part in the Latvia’s centenary celebrations.

Holy See granted Republic of Latvia de iure recognition on 10 June 1921, and not long after, on 30 May 1922, a concordat, or a specific international treaty. It was the first concordat concluded under pontificate of Pope Pius XI and it became a blueprint for similar treaties with other non-European countries. Holy See has consistently followed the policy of non-recognition of incorporation of Baltics into the USSR and had always considered diplomatic relationship disruption with Baltic states temporary. Joint declaration restoring diplomatic relations between both sides was signed on 1 October 1991 in Riga. The historic visit of Pope John Paul II to Latvia in 1993 was the first time a head of the Roman Catholic Church visited Latvia. Pope Francis visited Latvia on 24 September 2018.

Sovereign Order of Malta is an entity of international law without territory. It has originated from crusading order of the Knights Hospitaller of Jerusalem, which belonged to the Roman Catholic Church in medieval era. Main areas of activity of the Order worldwide were charity, humanitarian aid and healthcare.

Official visit of the President of Latvia Egils Levits and Andra Levite to the Holy See, Sovereign Order of Malta, Italian Republic and NATO Defence College
AGENDA

Sunday, 9 May

12:00–13:00 – President of Latvia Egils Levits and Mrs Andra Levite attend the Holy Mass marking the 50 years of relationship between the European Union and the Holy See. Rome, Basilica of St. John Lateran

13:30–15:00 – President of Latvia Egils Levits and Mrs Andra Levite attend the Embassy of Latvia and Holy See reception marking the 50 years of relationship between the European Union and the Holy See and 100 years of Latvia-Holy See relationship. Roma, Basilica Santi Quattro Coronati

Monday, 10 May

10:00 – President of Latvia Egils Levits and Mrs Andra Levite audience with His Holiness Pope Francis. Vatican

10:50 – President of Latvia Egils Levits meets with H. Em. Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, Holy See. Vatican

11:30 – President of Latvia Egils Levits presents the Order of Three Stars to H. Em. Pietro Parolin during a special state honours ceremony. Vatican

13:20 – President of Latvia Egils Levits gives live interview on Vatican Radio

15:00 – President of Latvia Egils Levits takes part in the remote summit of NATO Eastern Flank (B9 – Bucharest Nine) countries

16:00–17:30 – Mrs Andra Levite attends the launch of the collection of articles about the centenary of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Latvia. Since President Levits has agreed to take part in the remote summit of NATO Eastern Flank (B9 – Bucharest Nine) countries, message from the President of Latvia will be delivered by Minister for Justice Jānis Bordāns (live broadcast). Rome, LUMSA University

Tuesday, 11 May

10:45 – President of Latvia Egils Levits and Mrs Andra Levite pay official visit to the Sovereign Order of Malta. Rome, Sovereign Order of Malta

14:30 – President of Latvia Egils Levits and Mrs Andra Levite lay flowers at the grave of Niklāvs Strunke. Rome, Acattolico Cemetery

19:15 – President of Latvia Egils Levits meets with staff of the Embassy of Latvia to Italy

19:30–20:30 – President of Latvia Egils Levits has remote meeting with diaspora

Wednesday, 12 May

10:45 – President of Latvia Egils Levits meets with Lieutenant General Olivier Rittimann, Commandant of the NATO Defence College. Rome, NATO Defence College

11:20 – President of Latvia Egils Levits gives lecture and takes part in discussion with participants (live stream). Rome, NATO Defence College

11:30–16:15 – Mrs Andra Levite visits Biblioteca Angelica and meets with leadership of Italian Paralympic Committee

13:00 – President of Latvia Egils Levits arrives at the Quirinal Palace (residence of the President of the Italian Republic). Rome, Quirinal Palace

13:10 – President of Latvia Egils Levits meets with Sergio Mattarella, President of the Italian Republic. Rome, Quirinal Palace

14:20 – President of Latvia Egils Levits meets with Giancarlo Coraggio, President of the Constitutional Court of Italy. Rome, Constitutional Court of Italy

15:05 – President of Latvia Egils Levits meets with Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati, President of the Senate of Italian Republic. Rome, Senate of Italian Republic

16:00 – President of Latvia Egils Levits meets with Roberto Fico, President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Republic. Rome, Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Republic

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