"Vladimir Putin expressed the readiness of the Russian Federation to develop good neighborly relations with Latvia based on shared interests of both sides. In a conversation with President Putin, Māris Riekstiņš confirmed that Latvia was open for a direct bilateral dialogue," according to a statement from the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
According to the website of the Russian President, he also said:
"Mr Ambassador, you are certainly aware of our attitude to the situation with our compatriots who reside in Latvia. I hope we will be able to discuss this matter as well."
The ceremony took place alongside 19 other ambassadors from other countries, including John Meade Huntsman of the United States of America.
In his address to the assembled ambassadors, President Putin touched on the current crisis concerning North Korea, saying:
We condemn Pyongyang’s activities that violate the UN Security Council resolution. But using increasingly militant rhetoric is not just a road to nowhere but also a highly destructive policy. All parties must show restraint and look for a peaceful solution. In a modern world, conflicts must be settled with due regard for many factors, some of them extremely delicate ones, and through compromise.
As previously reported by LSM, Riekstiņš is one of Latvia's most experienced diplomats with a reputation for unflappability that should serve him well in Moscow.
From 2007 to 2010 he was Minister of Foreign Affairs and since September 2015 was performing the duties of Ambassador – Inspector General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Earlier in his career, from 2011 to 2015, he was Ambassador of Latvia to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), from 2004 to 2007 was Ambassador to the United States of America, and from 2006 to 2007 Non-Resident Ambassador to the United Mexican States.
In the period from 1993 to 2004, Māris Riekstiņš held the position of the State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has also headed Latvian delegations at the accession negotiations to a number of important international organisations, including NATO and the World Trade Organisation.