President Vējonis visits Estonia's Ilves in a warm atmosphere; the two talk Russia

Take note – story published 6 years ago

On July 9, President Raimonds Vējonis went to a state visit to the President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves upon taking office as president. The visit was held in a friendly atmosphere and the two heads of state exchanged views about the Ukrainian crisis, economic cooperation and defense, Latvian Television reported.

It is customary for presidents of the Baltic States to visit their two neighbors first. However, Vējonis is the first president who went on a state visit on his first work day.

The two heads of state addressed the war in Ukraine in harsh terms.

"Russia has over the past year executed an aggressive policy in Ukraine. It is a problem for all of Europe, because the security situation has completely changed," said Vejonis.

"However, we hope that Russia stops its activities in the vicinity of Ukraine and will return to the negotiating table, and when all the points of the Minsk agreement are executed, Europe can restore normal relations with Russia. At the present moment it is impossible," said Vejonis.

President Ilves added that some of the European Union's sanctions are related to the annexation of the Crimea. "Even if the Minsk agreements are fulfilled, there are still sanctions for the annexation of the Crimea," he said.

When the heads of state discussed state security, Ilvess had this to say, "I think the first step is to provide 2 percent of GDP for defense," referring to the fact that Latvia has yet to reach 2% GDP spending for defense, a task the government has set out to reach by 2018.

On Monday Vējonis will be visiting Lithuania's president Dalia Grybauskaitė.

On June 8, Vējonis became Latvia's sixth president since the country re-established its independence. He was elected by the Saeima on June 3 with the support of 55 out of 100 MPs. Vējonis replaced outgoing president Andris Bērziņš, who did not run for the second term. 

Vējonis is the first green president in the European Union – in name at least. He previously served as Minister of Defense.

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