On 12 April 2021, the Latvian Chargé d’Affaires ad interim to the Commonwealth of Australia, Ieva Apine, begins her work in Canberra. She will be making arrangements for the opening of the new Embassy of Latvia. Building close contacts with the Latvian diaspora organisations represented in Australia is of special importance.
Opening of the new embassy shall ensure that Latvia’s interests are more effectively supported in this strategic Indo-Pacific region. The mission will in fact be regional in its reach, with initial accreditation covering Australia and New Zealand. The Embassy will offer assistance of various kinds to the diaspora, facilitate a more active development of bilateral relations, including through fostering economic cooperation, as well as opening new opportunities for contacts with countries in Oceania in the context of Latvia’s candidacy for the UN Security Council.
The Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., will also be involved in providing consular assistance to Latvian nationals who have travelled to Australia on short visits and find themselves in situations where they require urgent assistance, for example, when their passport has been lost, they have been detained, or have fallen victim to a crime. Such consular assistance will be provided in a close cooperation with the Consular Department of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Latvia’s honorary consuls, and missions of other European Union Member States in Australia.
The provision of consular services (passports, eIDs, certifications, etc.) at the embassy will begin as soon as technical arrangements are in place. Until further notification, consular services can be received as before, with the help of Latvian honorary consuls in Australia, at any Latvian embassy across the globe, or remotely, as an e-service.
A resident Ambassador of Latvia to Australia is to be accredited in the second half of 2021.
Australia became home for a considerable number of Latvians in the wake of World War II, which today is reflected in a large and dynamic diaspora, over 20,000 strong. The main diaspora organisation is the Latvian Federation in Australia and New Zealand, which brings together more than 40 Latvian organisations, communities, congregations and centres and their active social life that contributes so much to fostering and preserving Latvian identity and connectedness with Latvian roots and culture.
Five Honorary Consuls currently represent Latvia in Australia – in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sidney.
The Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs still advises against travelling abroad unless absolutely necessary. See the link to current travel advice concerning the Commonwealth of Australia.
Photo: the Chief of Protocol for the Australian Government, Ian McConville, presents a document confirming the establishment of the Embassy of the Republic of Latvia in the Commonwealth of Australia and on the Charge d’Affaires a.i. of the Republic of Latvia, Ieva Apine, taking up her duties
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