President of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs made a working visit to Finland on Thursday 28 September 2023. The visit was hosted by President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö.
President Niinistö and President Rinkēvičs held their official discussions at the Presidential Palace. Discussions between the two presidents focused on bilateral relations between Finland and Latvia and security issues in the Baltic Sea region and Europe.
At a joint press conference after the meeting, President Niinistö said there were many good reasons to get together and exchange opinions, noting that these opinions are not very different from one another. “First of all, our bilateral relations are on a very solid, good basis and they continue to develop,” President Niinistö said.
Cooperation on security issues
President Niinistö thanked President Rinkēvičs for his strong support to Finland on its path to NATO membership, but he reiterated that Finland’s membership would not be complete without Sweden’s and that the work to achieve it was still ongoing.
With respect to the situation in Ukraine, President Niinistö stressed the importance of continuing support. “We are both fully committed to this work and we encourage others to do the same.”
President Niinistö also highlighted the importance of border security, as both countries share a border with Russia. Furthermore, both countries have experience with migration issues, Latvia currently at the border with Belarus, and Finland from 2015. “We can exchange experiences, and it is now very important for us to learn how these situations should be handled and how we can keep our borders secure.” In addition, the President emphasised the importance of preparedness for hybrid threats.
While in Finland, President Rinkēvičs also met with Prime Minister Petteri Orpo and Deputy Speaker of Parliament Paula Risikko.
This was Rinkēvičs’ first visit to Finland as President of Latvia. The previous Latvian president, Egils Levits, made a working visit to Finland in 2019. President Niinistö last visited Latvia for the meeting of Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) country leaders in December 2022.