On 14 May in Slovakia, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs took part the GLOBSEC 2014 Bratislava Global Security Forum and delivered an address in a panel discussion on Ukraine.
The Minister stressed that the most important steps towards stabilizing Ukraine were the ceasing of separatist attacks, the Ukrainian presidential elections due on 25 May, launching a dialogue within society, and long term political and economic reforms.
“Russian troops must be withdrawn from the Ukrainian border and Ukrainians themselves must be allowed to decide their country’s future without external interference,” the minister noted. Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs pledged support for the road map offered by the OSCE Swiss Presidency, while indicating to the EU’s readiness for further restrictive measures against Russia if it continues destabilising the situation in Ukraine. The minister called for greater attention to be paid in the European Union to security in informational space and ensuring access to objective media information, especially in Russian.
Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs also met with the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovakia Miroslav Lajčák. The Latvian Foreign Minister informed his counterpart about the agenda of the Latvian EU Presidency in the first half of 2015, notably the Eastern Partnership Initiative and the Riga Summit to be held next spring, expanding cooperation with Central Asian countries and other priorities.
Minister Rinkēvičs expressed readiness to consult and maintain a dialogue with Slovakia both during the presidency preparation stage and the presidency period, and to share Latvia’s experience. The minister commended Slovakia’s wish to second a Slovak foreign service official to the Foreign Ministry of Latvia during Latvian Presidency of the EU Council. Ministers Rinkēvičs and Lajčák welcomed the fact that Latvian airBaltic airline has launched flights to Slovakia, which will increase the tourist flow and promote economic cooperation.
Slovak Foreign Minister Lajčák congratulated Latvia on starting accession talks with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and development (OCSE) and thanked Latvia for representing Slovakia in issuing visas in Kaliningrad, Russia. The ministers shared the opinion that the successful dialogue within the format of regional organisations should be continued, including among the Visegrad Group (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) and NB8 – Baltic and Nordic countries. Slovakia takes on the presidency of the Visegrad quartet next year.
Foreign Ministers Rinkēvičs and Lajčák discussed the situation in Ukraine and the topics on NATO agenda – measures to enhance security in the Baltic and other regions of Europe, the enlargement policy and cooperation with partner countries. Latvian Foreign Minister invited Miroslav Lajčák to visit Latvia.
The GLOBSEC Bratislava Global Security Forum is an annual high-level conference providing a platform for discussions on possible solutions to the current international security challenges. The event has been held since 2005. The GLOBSEC Forum is organised by the Slovak Atlantic Commission in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic.