President Alain Berset visits Latvia during its centenary year

Press releases, 14.05.2018

On Monday, 14 May, President Alain Berset was received in Latvia for a state visit. The Baltic republic is celebrating the centenary of its independence this year. The visit provides an opportunity to acknowledge the excellent bilateral relations that exist between the two countries and discuss ways of deepening them. The discussions also covered a range of international issues.

During the official talks between President Berset and Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis, the two sides praised the quality of bilateral relations which have intensified in recent years as a result of cooperation in the framework of Switzerland's EU enlargement contribution.

They also affirmed the good state of economic relations, but acknowledged that further potential existed. In addition, the talks covered questions relating to vocational education and training and cooperation in the field of research. Furthermore, Mr Berset thanked Latvia for its contribution to a new exhibition in Lugano about the Latvian writers Rainis and Aspazija, who spent many years in exile in Switzerland at the beginning of the 20th century. The biographies of this literary couple underscore the close historic ties between Switzerland and Latvia.

During exchanges on Switzerland's policy towards Europe Mr Berset explained the key aspects of negotiations with the EU on an institutional agreement and the state of the debate regarding a possible second autonomous contribution by Switzerland to selected EU member states. They also discussed issues relating to security policy and transatlantic relations. The two sides addressed ways of promoting respect for international law and international trade rules.

A further area of discussion was cooperation between Switzerland and Latvia at an international level, such as within the framework of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Latvia will assume the chairmanship of this informal grouping of 48 states from Switzerland in June. The NSG seeks to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and their components.

In addition to the official meetings at Riga Castle, Mr Berset laid flowers at the Freedom Monument and also took part in a ceremony marking the anniversary at the National Library.

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