“Today’s ceremony is more than merely an act of renaming a street in Riga. It is a moving and symbolic act that acknowledges the important role of the strategic partnership between Latvia and the United States, and it honours the people and values who helped us to regain independence, withdraw the Soviet army, achieve strategic goals, join the European Union and NATO, as well as to maintain a strategic partnership with the United States,” said Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, in her address to the participants of the ceremonial renaming of the street after Sumner Welles.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State of the United States, attended the ceremony of renaming the street on which the new U.S. embassy is located, where Solvita Āboltiņa emphasised the role of dedicated and courageous people in the history: “We have gathered here today to honour such a man – diplomat Sumner Welles. In 1940, when the Baltic States were occupied, by his principled and courageous actions he laid the foundation for a non-recognition policy of the occupation of the Baltic States”.
“The fact that the flag of Latvia continued to stand next to the flags of other independent countries at the U.S. Department of State inspired our émigrés in the United States and elsewhere. It kept alive the flame of belief in the state of Latvia; it allowed us to hold on and endure,” emphasised the Speaker.
“The fact that the United States of America considered diplomatic representative offices of the Baltic States as a part of the foreign diplomatic corps until August 1991 and did not recognise forceful incorporation of the Baltic States in the Soviet Union encouraged other Western democracies to resist the pressure of the Soviet Union and to regard the Baltic States as unlawfully occupied,” said the Speaker in her address.
Solvita Āboltiņa indicated that this is a proper day to remind ourselves that there are always people behind historic events and even destinies of nations – people with their courage, their ideas and unshakable conviction.
On Thursday, 28 June, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State of the United States, is visiting Latvia. Speaker Solvita Āboltiņa together with the Secretary of State participated at the ceremonial renaming of the street after Sumner Welles, former Deputy Secretary of State of the United States.
Saeima Press Service