Books on Latvia
Update No: 292- (26/04/05)
President Vike-Freiberga appointed U.N. envoy
President Vaira Vike-Freiberga is acquiring the aura of a world statesman, or
rather stateswoman. President Bush is expected to visit Riga before going on to
attend in mid-May ceremonies in Moscow to commemorate the 60th anniversary of
the end of the Second World War. She will be attending too, the only Baltic
state leader to do so.
She is also appreciated by the UN, which has just given her a special
assignment, to become one of five UN envoys to disseminate reforms to the world
"As Latvia's head of state, President Vike-Freiberga has actively supported
the need for U.N. reform. Elected to a second term in office in 2003, she has
successfully guided her nation through a period of active reforms, leading to
full membership in EU and NATO," the secretary-general's press service
"The secretary-general wishes to express his profound gratitude to her
excellency for having agreed to take on this challenging assignment and invest
her time, energy and political wisdom in assisting him in his efforts," the
Along with the Latvian president, Annan has also appointed as envoys Ireland's
Minister of Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern, former Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali
Alatas, former President of Mozambique Joaquin Chissano and former president of
Mexico Ernesto Zedillo.
At the end of March, Annan proposed that the General Assembly implement
comprehensive U.N. reforms, which would include increasing the number of
security council members from 15 to 24 in order to better meet the world's needs
in the 21st century. Annan also proposed measures for reaching such U.N.
Millennium Declaration targets as halving poverty in the next 10 years and
advancing human rights and freedoms.
The new U.N. envoys will visit various countries of the world, promoting the
ideas of U.N. reforms among political leaders, representatives of civil society,
scientists and the mass media.
The summit will take place in New York Sept. 14th - 16th, shortly before the
opening of the General Assembly session, dedicated to the U.N.'s 60th
Territorial concessions to Russia
In another move to improve strained Latvian-Russian relations, ahead of her
Moscow trip, Vike-Freiberga told the local LTV television channel on April 14th
that Latvia had passed a political decision to give up its claims to the
Pytalovo district of Russia's Pskov region. The district became part of Russia
after World War II. She said that Latvia was ready to abandon its pre-war
frontiers when it seals a border treaty with Russia.
"Finland lost Karelia. I assume that at some stage Estonia will also have
to follow this path. One should be pragmatic in deciding what is good for the
state, and a bold political decision should simply be made," the Latvian
Vike-Freiberga also thinks that a referendum on a border treaty with Russia is
unnecessary. Earlier, the Association of Arbene Residents (Arbene is the Latvian
name for Pytalovo) demanded no concessions on Arbene and called for a national
referendum on its future.
Arbene was one of Latvia's administrative districts under the 1920 Peace Treaty.
It became part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic after World
Latvia identifies key areas for technical assistance to Moldova
Latvia's Policy Plan for Development Cooperation 2005 envisages that one of the
activities of Latvia's development cooperation policy is rendering technical
assistance to developing and transition economies; Moldova is one of the
priority states to receive such assistance, a special online report said
Representatives from Latvian institutions were on a visit to Moldova from March
29th to April 3rd to identify future areas of cooperation where Latvia could
share its experience in carrying out reforms. They were there after on an
invitation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Moldova.
During the visit, experts from Latvia's Ministry of foreign Affairs and 12 other
administrative institutions met with Moldavian public and private sector
representatives and discussed Latvia's experience of integration into the
European Union. They also identified areas of cooperation and possible ways of
rendering assistance. The experts assessed the situation in Moldova with respect
to customs, border control, state language, judiciary, insolvency process,
prison system and other issues to assist the ministry of foreign affairs in
formulating priority areas of assistance and elaborating a strategy of
cooperation with Moldova.
A representative of the UN Development Programme will also visit the country to
get acquainted with activities of other foreign donors to Moldova, the report
A country can support transferring of knowledge and experience in a specific
areas that the other party considers essential for its development within the
framework of technical assistance.
By establishing bilateral cooperation with Moldova for rendering development
assistance, Latvia will ensure successful representation of its own interests
and will develop mutually beneficial cooperation in economy, science and
Latvia has already provided technical assistance to some other developing and
transition economies on pension reform and the social security system, local
government financial system, nature protection, customs, application of
information technology and management systems, as well as issues of energy and
Latvia's experience in the transitional period is of particular significance for
countries that lag behind Latvia with respect to progress in the reform process.
While planning such activities for further development, the countries like
Moldova can take into consideration the experience of Latvia to avoid some of
the potholes on the way.