Hopes for Latvia-Israel dual citizenship in future

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On March 7, 2022 the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel, Yair Lapid in Rīga.

While the discussion inevitably involved discussion of the security situation in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Israel's diplomatic efforts to mediate and broker a ceasefire, it also covered an unrelated but important area for the future: the possibility for people to hold dual Latvian and Israeli citizenship.

"During the meeting, Edgars Rinkēvičs praised the active dialogue between Latvia and Israel. We would like to sign a bilateral agreement on the recognition of dual citizenship, which would be the first accord of its kind for both Latvia and Israel, the Latvian Foreign Minister underlined," according to an account of the meeting by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which did not quote either man directly.

Currently citizens of Latvia can only hold dual citizenship with other European Union and NATO member states, plus a few additional countries with significant Latvian diaspora populations such as Australia and Brazil.

Edgars Rinkēvičs thanked the Israeli side for its support for a resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, “Aggression against Ukraine” and welcomed Israel’s efforts of seeking diplomatic solutions to stop bloodshed in Ukraine.

Yair Lapid also used his Rīga stop to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“Israel is assisting in the mediation effort together with Germany and France, but we continue to condemn the Russian invasion. There is no justification for violating Ukrainian sovereignty and killing innocent civilians," said Lapid.

“Under the leadership of Prime Minister Bennett, Israel is maintaining continuous contact with Russia and President Putin as well as with Ukraine and President Zelenskyy. We have one goal: to stop the war and prevent more suffering and victims.

“Israel has been actively assisting Ukraine since almost the first day of fighting. Nearly 100 tons of Israeli aid has already been sent to Ukraine, and an Israeli field hospital will be established in the coming week in Ukrainian territory. 

“At the same time, we have vital security interests vis-a-vis Russia on our northern border, and we are committed to the safety and security of hundreds of thousands of Jews and Israelis in Russia and Ukraine."

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