On March 18, 2022 Latvia’s Honorary Consuls to the U.S. gathered at the Embassy of Latvia in Washington, DC for their annual meeting. This event provided an opportunity to discuss global events, as well as more specific questions, plans and priorities in person. Ambassador Māris Selga and Embassy diplomats reported on 2021 events and plans for 2022.
Special guests Kristīne Bērziņa, Senior Fellow, German Marshall Fund and Rihards Kols, Chairman of the Saeima Foreign Affairs Committee, spoke about Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and their views on the war.
The Ambassador commended the work of the honorary consuls and invited them to continue their active involvement with Latvia’s political, economic, cultural and other interests in the U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Juris Pēkalis briefed the honorary consuls on the Three Seas Initiative, infrastructure projects, funding opportunities, as well as the Three Seas Initiative Summit and Business Forum taking place in Riga, Latvia this June.
Other speakers included Reinis Sīpols, head of the recently-opened LIAA Representative Office in Boston and Mrs. Marika Zadraka, representing SIA “Eiropas Dzelzceļa Līnijas.” Mr. Sīpols outlined the main indicators of Latvia’s economic situation, as well as LIAA’s priorities in the U.S. market. Marika Zadraka presented an overview of the Rail Baltica project, explaining its historic development, its current implementation in Latvia and future plans.
Santa Dālmane and Arvils Zeltiņš of the Embassy’s Consular Division gave an overview of consular matters, including the upcoming Saeima elections this fall. They emphasized the role of honorary consuls in assisting individuals from Latvia who find themselves in unexpected situations during their travel or stay in the U.S.
Honorary Consuls are unpaid representatives of Latvia, and some fulfill limited consular functions. In the United States Latvia has honorary consuls in Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Washington State. Gints Zadraks, the diplomat working on economic issues, is responsible for cooperation with the Honorary consuls in the U.S.
More information about Honorary Consuls: http://www2.mfa.gov.lv/vestniecibas-un-parstavniecibas#US