Presidents and Foreign Ministers of the Baltic States visit Iceland
The foreign ministers of the Baltic states and Iceland signed a Joint Declaration today at a gathering in Höfði, Reykjavík, celebrating three decades of diplomatic relations between the countries. In the Declaration, the countries reaffirm their sincere commitment to cooperation, condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and underscore their solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
The presidents of the Baltic countries are on an official visit to Iceland along with their entourages. The occasion for the visit is that today marks 30 years since the countries resumed diplomatic relations after Iceland was the first to recognise the restored independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania following the fall of the Soviet Union.
This morning, a special celebratory gathering was held in Höfði, Reykjavík, where Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson welcomed the guests. Short addresses were then given by Egils Levits, President of Latvia, Gitanas Nausèda, President of Lithuania, and Alar Karis, President of Estonia, after which Minister for Foreign Affairs Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir recounted the milestone and put it in historical perspective.
“It was also here on this day in August – 31 years ago that the Foreign Ministers of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and the Foreign Minister of Iceland, Mr Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson, signed the documents establishing diplomatic relations between each of the three Baltic countries and Iceland. In the political context of that time - this event was unusual,” Foreign Minister Gylfadóttir said in the address and added that other countries had followed suit and that the Baltic states had quickly gained international recognition as free and sovereign states.
After the address, Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, Edgars Rinkēvičs, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lativa, Urmas Reinsalu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia and Gabrielius Landsbergis, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, signed a Joint Declaration marking three decades since the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Iceland and the three countries. In the Declaration, the ministers reaffirm their political solidarity and their strong interest in further cultivating mutual friendship, fostering bilateral trade and connectivity, as well as enhancing international cooperation.
The ministers go on to condemn “Russia’s unprovoked, unjustified, and unlawful war in Ukraine” and stress their steadfast unity with the Ukrainian people and commitment to provide further support for Ukraine as it stands up to Russia’s aggression “for all of Europe and values we share”. At the same time, the ministers underline their unwavering commitment to multilateralism, human rights and the democratic values on which the international system is based and declare support for free trade and reiterate the importance of cooperation on defence and security. They go on to state that addressing climate change is “more important than ever and a priority in our cooperation”.
The visit by the leaders of the Baltic countries began yesterday with a visit to Althingi Parliament House and an official dinner at Bessastaðir at the invitation of President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson. After the gathering in Höfði this morning, the presidents and foreign ministers along with their retinues went to the University of Iceland. There, the President of Iceland delivered a talk on Icelandic support for Baltic independence, after which all the presidents participated in a panel discussion moderated by the Rector of the University of Iceland. The presidents then went to Viðey Island where Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir hosted a lunch. At the same time, the foreign ministers met for an informal lunch in central Reykjavík. In the afternoon, the heads of state and their delegations will visit the Hellisheiði geothermal power plant where they will be given presentations on the utilisation of green energy and the work of the Icelandic company Carbfix. From there, the group heads to Þingvellir where the official programme of the visit concludes.