Edvards Smiltēns: Common foreign policy a matter of national security, we all serve as diplomats


“If we want to safeguard our values, the rule of law, our way of life, we must be aware that our battlefield includes raising awareness of Russia’s aggression among the wider international community, and support for holding Russia accountable. The unity of our foreign policy objectives and actions is a matter of national security. Foreign policy is not only the responsibility of diplomats. We all serve as diplomats", said Edvards Smiltēns, Speaker of the Saeima, on Thursday, January 26, during the annual parliamentary foreign policy debate, reminding that freedom, independence and democracy are never to be taken for granted.

“Achieving our strategic goals can only be based on reality. Strengthening our security and curbing Russia’s threats is a constant process. Thanks to the Ukrainian valour and ardour, we still have the opportunity to discuss the most effective way of achieving our strategic goals. They are inextricably linked to Ukraine’s struggle for its freedom, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Speaker Smiltēns.

“Ukraine must receive all the necessary military support for a faster victory. By accelerating the victory, we will save lives and eventually a nation,” Speaker said, stressing that it is the hesitation of the international community that enhances the possibility of escalation beyond current borders.

The Speaker of the Saeima pointed out that Latvia is demonstrating true leadership, and serves as a role model in terms of the scope of its assistance. The selfless support of the Latvian society to Ukraine is the most obvious example of every citizen’s ability to play a part in joint foreign policy efforts. Latvia is receiving gratitude from the village of Yahidne, where we are rebuilding homes, to Kyiv, where the donated buses decorated with the flags of Latvia and Ukraine can be seen daily on the city’s streets.

“Ukraine’s victory in the battlefield is important, and so is Russia’s defeat within the international legal framework. We cannot allow such horrific evil to remain unpunished in the 21st century. The idea of military aggression as an acceptable and justifiable instrument of international relations cannot be allowed to be perpetuated anywhere in the world," said Speaker Smiltēns, stressing that it would undoubtedly increase instability and encourage the use of military solutions to existing and potential internal and cross-border conflicts.     

“The investigation and prosecution of the Russian aggression, crimes committed by its officials, the army, and mercenaries, the reparations of Russia’s damage inflicted upon Ukraine, a strong policy of sanctions and maximum international isolation of the aggressor state is an absolute necessity, both as a strengthening of justice and the rule of law, which constitutes the foundations of our security, and, equally important, as a deterrent in face of inevitable punishment. The rule of law must prevail over the rule of force," stressed the Speaker of the Saeima, noting that the establishment of a tribunal against aggression is a common task of the civilised world.

Underlining that Ukraine should not remain in the security grey zone also after the war, E.Smiltēns pointed out that "Ukrainians are willing to pay the highest possible price for their choice to belong to the Euro-Atlantic space of security and values. Ukraine has already proved that it belongs to the European Union and NATO”.

Discussing the external security of Latvia, the Speaker of the Saeima noted that considerable work had been invested in strengthening it throughout the last year. E.Smiltēns applauded the understanding and support of allies for our security, noting that NATO solidarity is clearly manifested in the decisions of previous NATO summits and in the presence of our allies at the Ādaži military base and at the Lielvārde military airfield. At the same time, Speaker Smiltēns highlighted that external security is complemented by internal resilience, including economic, and encouraged the Government and the Saeima to jointly strengthen economic cooperation with allies.

Saeima Press Service

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