Foreign policy debated in Saeima

Take note – story published 7 years and 4 months ago

The annual foreign policy debate is taking place in the Latvian parliament January 26.

With a scattering of foreign ambassadors in the viewing gallery, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics reviewed 2016 and identified the key priorities for the coming year.

"We should not expect the world to end in 2017, and a military offensive against Latvia is also not in the cards," Rinkevics said.

"We often hear that Latvia should keep a low profile – like a little rabbit hiding under a fir tree, while a big bad wolf prowls nearby. We acted like this once in the past, and lost our independence for a while. We must not stand to the side and just watch what is happening around us," he said.

In the last year Latvia has faced a concerted propaganda campaign to slander its name via social media, he explained, before warning that "The world must not return to the policies which provide a basis for spheres of influence and the use of brute force."

"Let's not bow our heads and shed tears for Europe - let's fight for it."

The Foreign Minister then compared the UK's so-called 'Brexit' process tot he departure of Christopher Robin from Hundred Acre Wood, saying:

"This is like the part of the story of Winnie the Pooh when Christopher Robin was going away 'Nobody knew why Christopher Robin was going; nobody knew where he was going; [..] but somehow or other everybody in the Forest felt that it was happening at last.'"

These comments were to set the tone for much of the debate that followed with several other deputies taking the chance to quote AA Milne, plus Henry Kissinger, Francis Fukayama and the Guardian newspaper. 

On Russia, Rinkevics said it is essential to foster relations with Russian civil society and counter untruths in Russian media before moving on to emphasise the role Latvia's 370,000 diaspora can have in pomoting the country worldwide.

In response, Saeima speaker Inara Murniece said: "Let us be honest - things can take a sharp turn for the worst at any moment," but later said ""We do no face direct military threats... hybrid threats represent the main threat at the moment."

You can watch the rest of the debate live HERE.



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