Message of the Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Latvia
Latvia National Day 2014
Honourable Prof. Tissa Vitarana, Senior Minister of Scientific Affairs, Honourable Ministers, Members of Parliament, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I greet you on this most significant day for Latvia, because it was the 18th November 1918 when the newly independent state was born on the coast of the Baltic Sea in the very heart of Europe.
This year we commemorated the grim anniversaries of the First and Second World wars. Both wars began in Europe but quickly spread throughout the world destroying the lives of countless millions.
Today again, global security and peace is challenged by forces willing to rewrite the history and rules of the international order.
75 years ago, the decay of the international system already proved fatal for the Baltic States. Two totalitarian regimes – those of Hitler and of Stalin - divided Europe and we lost our freedom for 50 long years.
25 years ago, more than 2 million people joined hands and formed a human chain across Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The Baltic Way clearly illustrated the people's demand for freedom and restoration of their statehood. The Baltic people made their choice.
There is no alternative to an international order, based on the rule of law, democracy and respect for human rights that would provide the basis for long lasting peace and security.
Peace and security are both enablers of sustainable development and objectives in their own right. Without peaceful societies we cannot achieve sustainable development. Each country has its own responsibility for achieving that goal. Our societies need honest and accountable governments who protect them from violence and crime and ensure fundamental freedoms and sustainable economic growth.
In the first half of 2015 Latvia will assume the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Europe needs the world as much as the world needs Europe. That is why the Latvian Presidency will focus on strengthening the European Union's involvement globally. We will actively work to promote Europe's cooperation with its neighbors and with the countries of Central Asia.
Unity is one of the priorities of our country as people from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds live in harmony in Latvia. This is a major accomplishment of the Republic and a reflection of the democratic values that is its basis. The relationship and trade between Sri Lanka and our country has significantly developed over the last years and we are aiming at further strengthening the ties between our two countries.
Please join me on this day in wishing both Sri Lanka and Latvia a bright, peaceful, prosperous and happy future.
May I now propose a toast to His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.