Travel Diary: Secretary Clinton in Latvia

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
June 28, 2012
Secretary Clinton With Latvian Foreign Minister Rinkevics in Riga

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Today, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is in Riga, Latvia, the hundredth country she has visited as U.S. Secretary of State. In her present capacity, she has traveled more than 830,000 miles to date. Secretary Clinton told an audience of Latvian youths, "I'm very happy that my 100th country was Latvia, because I have such a great admiration and incredible sense of friendship and solidarity with your country, and so it's a perfect time to be here."

In Riga, Secretary Clinton also met with Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis and Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics. Secretary Clinton and the Latvian officials discussed a range of issues, including our joint commitment to NATO missions and Latvia's recovery from economic crisis. During a press availability with the Foreign Minister, Secretary Clinton said:

"We had an excellent conversation about a range of issues. Let me say a quick word about Syria. Latvia and the United States have worked closely together to increase pressure on the Assad regime, to provide humanitarian assistance to Syrian civilians, who are bearing the brunt of the regime's brutal assault, and to support the efforts of Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan to try to prepare the way for a democratic transition. We have also joined together in NATO in solidarity behind our NATO ally Turkey.

"In recent days, Kofi Annan has accelerated plans for a democratic transition. I will discuss these issues with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Saint Petersburg tomorrow. And then I look forward to participating in a meeting organized by Joint Special Envoy Annan in Geneva on Saturday.

"Turning to Afghanistan, I thanked the Foreign Minister for Latvia's contributions to our shared NATO mission there. Two hundred Latvian troops are fighting side by side with American and Afghan forces. About half of all the shipments in the Northern Distribution Network pass through the port of Riga, and this has been a crucial supply line for Afghanistan -- and at the moment the only supply line. And I want to applaud Latvia for making a significant financial commitment to help sustain the Afghan national security forces after 2014."

Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Rinkevics spoke about the crucial role of democracy and human rights in making Europe stronger and more prosperous. Secretary Clinton said, "Latvia stands as a success story that showcases the benefits of integration into European and transatlantic institutions. But this historic project in Europe is not complete, and we all need to redouble our efforts to extend stability, security, prosperity, and democracy to the entire continent. It's not always easy, but I want to thank Latvia for not only demonstrating by example and being a model to other countries in Europe, but calling for the release of political prisoners, calling to strengthen democracy in neighbors such as Belarus and Ukraine."

Secretary Clinton also participated in a street renaming ceremony in honor of former Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles, whose Welles Declaration formalized the U.S. refusal to recognize the forced incorporation of the Baltic Republics into the Soviet Union. During the ceremony, Secretary Clinton said:

"...As World War II progressed, many argued that we should recognize Stalin's conquest of the Baltic States. But Welles didn't give in. He believed that the United States needed to stand firm on the principles of sovereignty and self-government for those nations under both Nazi and Soviet control. The Welles Declaration was more than just a symbolic show of support. From 1940 until the Soviet Union ended its occupation, the United States never recognized Soviet control of Latvia.

"Back at the State Department in Washington, we hang the flags of all the countries with which the United States has a diplomatic relationship. And for 51 years, as the hammer and sickle flew overhead here in Riga, we never took down the maroon and white stripes of the Latvian flag. Through the alliances of World War II, in the darkest hours of the Cold War, at countless bargaining tables where American and Soviet leaders struggled to solve problems, our commitment to the sovereignty of the Latvian people never wavered.

"Now that sovereignty and freedom are secure, Latvia once again is a fully recognized, independent nation in the eyes of the entire world. And Latvians are at the forefront of working toward a Europe that is whole, free, democratic, and at peace."

Marking the latest step in U.S.-Latvian cooperation in promoting democracy, human rights, and economic development, Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Rinkevics today signed the U.S.-Latvian Agreement on Supporting Justice Sector Reform in Moldova. The Secretary and Foreign Minister also signed an agreement to renew the U.S.-Latvia Fulbright Academic Exchange Program, furthering cooperation between students and scholars, as well as educational, scientific, and research institutions of Latvia and the United States.

You can follow Secretary Clinton's travel on www.state.gov.

Comments

Comments

Patrick
|
Maryland, USA
June 29, 2012

Patrick in Maryland writes:

Information is always helpful...

I liked hearing about our history with Latvia.

Hopefully we'll work things out again.

Have A Great Weekend You Guys And Hillary !!!

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 1, 2012

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Well, I hear these milage stats and obviously stepping into 100 countries to be "America's face to the world" in less than 4 years in no small feat, but what does it mean?

Well I figure the public is getting maximum diplomatic effort for their every taxdollar, and I sure hope the Secretary of State gets "frequent flier miles" with that, so she can go back to her favorite places and be a tourist enjoying free airfare in her return to private life.

Speaking of milage, at this pace she's on track to top a cool million miles before Jan 20th next year, assuming that's her anticipated date of retirement, or date set at the pleasure of the President, should a nominee be in process to be confirmed.

Has anyone @ State seen the nice folks from the Guiness Book of World Records snooping about for confirmation documentation on these stats?...there may be one there for the record book.

I sure hope they give the incoming Sec. of State a new plane , because I'm pretty sure Madam Secretary has all but flown the wings off the current one.

( which reminds me that in all the years I've been on Dipnote, I have yet to see a post by the Secretary's flight and ground crew who make her travel possible. And they deserve a post of their own on Dipnote simply for the ammount of overtime the Secretary has most probably had them doing, just to keep her flying from hither to yon in good order, and on time.)

I loved what Sec. Clinton said in regards to "our commitment to the sovereignty of the Latvian people never wavered."

It confirms the line of reasoning I took with regards to Russia's "aversion" to "interference in soveregnity" had merit and when I said "should be" in the following excerpt from that topic thread, I knew that must be the basic concept of "Sovreignity" as democracies practice it, but other than the soveriegn rights given to the people in our founding documents, I haven't read it as a statement of foreign policy, though I imagine it exists fairly similar in tone and meaning to this;

---

"It should be the stated public policy of the US that the soveregnity of any nation is held in trust and preserved by its people, whereby any government is simply the temporary steward of their sovereign rights as a people.

Once any government has abused the people's rights to excercise sovereign control over its government institutions and leadership, such "stewardship" as that government may have excercised is thus rendered illegitimate and revokable at any time, by both the people and any nation willing to stand with the people to protect and restore their soverign duty to preserve their nation."

blogs.state.gov/index.php/site/entry/conversations_on_diplomacy_clinton_baker#Comments

---end excerpt

Reagan once called for Mr. Gorbachev to "tear down this wall"...and with regards to Assad and his regime, nothing would please me more than for President Obama to publicly call upon Mr. Putin to take on some national responsibility and "dismantle the 'Frankenstein' Russia has helped to create."

Save us and the rest of the willing from having to be doing it the hard way in the process, and asking if not stongly suggesting Russia step aside if unwilling to be a part of "regime replacement therapy".

It's like Russia's had this dog on a chain in its yard for years and finaly one day it gets loose and runs around the neighborhood attacking everything in sight and folks grab their guns and knock on Russia's door and say "Hey man, your dog got loose and put our kids in the hospital, you wanna help us put your dog down or what?"

And the Russians don't seem to have the good sense to join them, amid denials "he's not my pet, that's just a stray I feed once in awhile."

Moral to this story is that when the international community invites you to a "boot party" in a dictator's honor, it'll probably save lives to put on your muck abouts and wade in to make short work of him.

Fact is, the Syrian opposition is inviting the willing to their party, as folks are chanting in the street, "Assad, we're coming to get you!"

And they could definately use a little help leveling the playing field.

EJ

palgye
|
South Korea
July 5, 2012

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Samsung not requested to me, their's problems.....
Maybe, abandoned each other.

ps
europe, just will be manage and other areas are waiting.

.

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