GETTING STARTED: Aivis Ronis met with colleague Urmas Paet to review work on improving co-operation between their countries.
RIGA - Latvia’s new foreign minister, Aivis Ronis, who was on his first visit to Tallinn on May 3, discussed the relations between Latvia and Estonia as well as international co-operation with his Estonian colleague, Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet, reported news agency LETA. The two ministers discussed enhancing bilateral relations ahead of the completion of the report on the future of relations between Estonia and Latvia.
“We wish to develop the co-operation between Estonia and Latvia so that it could become even more successful and yield even better results than it has done thus far,” noted Paet, adding that the report, to be completed in the near future, will assess options for improving the co-operation between the two countries and present a practical input to that end.
The Estonian minister also emphasized the solid co-operation between Estonia and Latvia in the visa representation issues. “Estonia intends to conclude a visa representation agreement with Latvia, on the basis of which visas for traveling to Latvia will be issued by the Estonian embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria,” he explained. “Estonian and Latvian embassies will also co-operate in aiding citizens with consular matters in Cairo in Egypt, where Estonia opened its embassy on March 1,” said Paet.
Paet and Ronis also talked about co-operation between the two countries in the framework of the Eastern Partnership. Paet remarked that in the long-term perspective, Estonia wishes to create a training center for Eastern Partnership countries in Tallinn, with contributions from the EU member states as well as from the European Commission. “The European Union needs to take a more active stance towards its Eastern partners,” explained the minister.
He pointed out that Estonia would be glad to involve Latvian experts in carrying out the training courses. “We will focus on programs with tangible results, such as border management, the fight against corruption, support for small enterprises that would contribute more directly to the reforms in the partner countries,” added Paet.
When speaking about NATO, both Paet and Ronis noted that importance is put on NATO’s core values such as Article 5, and credible collective deterrence. Paet added that Estonia will continue contributing to reconstruction and security in Afghanistan, which is an important target country for Estonia’s development co-operation.
In addressing the issue of co-operation in the framework of international co-operation, the two ministers found that it could be enhanced, for example, by supporting each other’s candidacies. Estonia wishes to run for the UN Human Rights Council membership in 2012, and Latvia in 2014.
Ronis, confirmed as foreign minister by Latvia’s Saeima on April 29, plans to visit Vilnius and Brussels in the near future.