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Prime Minister has met with Speaker of Parliament of Latvia Edvards Smiltēns 

Date

2022 11 29

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On 29 November, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė met with Edvards Smiltēns, Speaker of the Saeima of Latvia, who is on a visit to Lithuania for the first time, at the Government Office, and discussed assistance to Ukraine defending itself from the Russian military aggression, the security situation across the region and the importance of tightening sanctions against Russia, cooperation between Lithuania and Latvia in the field of energy and on the Rail Baltica project as well as other relevant partnership issues. 

Prime Minister congratulated Mr Smiltēns, who was elected the Speaker of the Latvian Parliament at the beginning of November, wished him successful work in his new position and welcomed the active and warm relations between Lithuania and Latvia. 

“I have no doubt that our countries will continue to work very closely together, we will pay constant attention to the security of the Baltic region together with our allies, and at the same time we will continue to strengthen and mobilise our support to Ukraine so it can win the war launched by Russia as soon as possible, thus defending both itself and all of us. Lithuania and Latvia will remain unwavering supporters of Ukraine, and it is essential that we work together to ensure that the unity demonstrated by the West does not fade away and we do not lose our strategic patience, both in helping the Ukrainians to win, and in seeking international accountability for Russia's war crimes,” said Prime Minister Šimonytė. 

The meeting discussed Russia's brutal terrorism in destroying Ukraine's critical infrastructure and civilian objects, which deserves additional attention from the countries supporting Ukraine. Both Lithuania and Latvia are already contributing to the restoration and maintenance of the electricity supply in Ukraine, which is constantly disrupted by hostilities. The parties agreed that continuing and consolidating this assistance in securing electricity, heating and water supplies will be particularly important during winter. 

The parties also emphasized the need to increase pressure on Russia through sanctions to prevent any circumvention of the sanctions already imposed and to remain resilient to Russia's disinformation attacks aimed at convincing the world of the alleged ineffectiveness of sanctions and on blaming high energy prices and inflation across Europe on the sanctions. 

The meeting focused on establishing Baltic states' energy independence of Russia, and on the mutual objective of Lithuania and Latvia to synchronise their electricity systems with continental Europe as quickly as possible. This process was previously planned to be completed by 2025, but, according to Prime Minister, we can and must strive to achieve this goal earlier. 

Prime Minister Šimonytė assured Speaker of the Saeima Mr Smiltenis that Lithuania remains committed to the Rail Baltica project, which will also connect Lithuania to Latvia via a European gauge railway.  

The parties discussed Ukraine's aspiration to join the European Union as well as assistance by Lithuania and Latvia in this process, and, as Prime Minister noted, the two Baltic States will continue to work closely together to strengthen the NATO's eastern flank and to implement the decisions taken at the Madrid Summit.