RIGA - Earlier this week, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Andris Pelss, took part in a meeting of the State Secretaries of the Baltic and Nordic countries (NB8) in Helsinki to discuss current foreign policy developments across the globe, in Europe and the region, LETA was informed by the Foreign Ministry.
The participants focused on state of affairs in Afghanistan and they shared views on climate policy, development of new technologies, women’s rights and empowerment, and cooperation in the UN and the OSCE.
During the meeting, Pelss initiated a discussion on the eastern neighbors – Belarus and Ukraine. Pelss underlined that the situation at the border with Belarus in relation to the flow of illegal migration is serious, and he called for condemnation of the Belarusian regime’s hybrid attack against Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland.
''We must take a united and firm political stand against the unlawful actions of the Belarusian regime, this being the matter of security of the common EU external border, the State Secretary noted. Together with international partners, we must continue exerting pressure on the Belarusian regime so that it assumes responsibility for what is going on, and also address our European and transatlantic partners concerning further sanction,'' said Pelss.
Pelss underlined the major role of the Baltic States and Nordic countries in supporting the Eastern Partnership countries as they seek to strengthen democracy, and he noted the importance of the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit for the region’s stability. The participants were in agreement that in the context of the summit, the ways of involving the Belarusian civil society must be found.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the Baltic and Nordic colleagues visited the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats.
The NB-8 (Nordic–Baltic Eight) format comprises Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. In 2021, the work in NB8 is coordinated by Finland, which has set the following priorities: economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, with the focus on innovation, digitalization and climate policy issues.
In 2022, the NB8 cooperation will be coordinated by Lithuania and, in 2023, by Latvia.