RIGA - Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (Reform Party) believes that it is important for Latvia to open new embassies outside the European Union.
Rinkevics admitted during today's session of the Saeima Budget and Finance Committee that the opening of new embassies outside the EU, where Latvia's has economic interests, is among his priorities, adding that there is considerable interest in embassies in South Asia and East Asia.
Saeima Budget and Finance Committee Chairman Ojars Kalnins (Unity) asked whether opening Latvia's embassy in Korea is planned. Rinkevics declined to provide a direct answer and pointed out that the Foreign Ministry currently has diplomatic development plans until 2020. The minister explained that, even though there is certain logic to ensuring representations in all EU member states first, he sees new embassies outside the EU as a priority.
Rinkevics informed the committee that Latvia plans to open embassies in India and Brazil in 2014. The minister also noted that the diplomatic service was reduced by 30 percent during the economic crisis. Salaries were cut as well. Therefore many qualified employees found jobs abroad.
Asked whether the country plans to close any embassies, Rinkevics explained that all of them will be assessed.