Introducing the debate, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs described the modern diplomatic world as something like a game of high-stakes snakes and ladders:
"Although we would like to see international relations as a game of chess played by grand masters, those relations often remind one of the game, “Snakes and Ladders”. Heated rhetoric, carelessness of players or unfortunate rolls of the dice can lead to an unplanned result – one would like to climb the ladder to the very top, while more often as not one is forced to slide down a snake. A game like this can go too far," he said.
In that context, Rinkevics stressed that Latvia is a real, sovereign nation to be considered in its own right and not, as some would have it "an entryway or a bridge, or a place to stop on the road to Russia."
In the future as in the past, the foreign policy of Latvia will remain based on a strong European Union and NATO, the strengthening of international justice and increasing prosperity, he added.
Rinkevics also took pains to express that the European Union remains united despite the disruption caused by the Brexit process.
"A question is often raised on how united the European Union actually is. In 2018, too, the European Union was united! True, not everything in the European Union takes place in an optimal manner; decisions sometimes come slowly and laboriously. The decisions may be delayed but this does not mean that we are too late with something. It is in the very nature of the European Union to pool efforts in doing things that can be more effectively accomplished together and make us all strong," he said.
Rinkēvičs' speech was followed by lengthy responses from the various parties represented in Saeima.