On 6 June 2002 Mr Maris Riekstins, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, started political consultations with the US partners in Washington. He had a meeting with the joint group of experts representing the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon and informed the group about Latvia's achievements on its way to the NATO summit in Prague.
The government of Latvia is doing its best to retain the leader position among NATO candidate countries, and NATO membership and the related reforms enjoy considerable public support, Mr Maris Riekstins told his American colleagues.
The key issues discussed by the diplomats and military experts were the interoperability of Latvia's armed forces with NATO, success in combating corruption, society integration, awareness of the heritage of the past and public support for NATO integration.
Mr Maris Riekstins informed his colleagues about the establishment of the Bureau for Preventing and Combating Corruption, the legislation on conflicts of interest and financing of political parties, as well as the positive trends in the society integration process. He emphasised also the political commitment to ensure adequate financing for defence and NATO integration also in the future.
During the meeting with the Director for European and Eurasian Affairs Mr Daniel Fried at the US National Security Council relations with Russia and the future of the region after the accession of the Baltic States to NATO were discussed.
The US diplomats positively evaluated Latvia's contribution in fighting terrorism and the peacekeeping operations in the Balkans. Latvia is a reform model country which has successfully managed to implement numerous complicated reforms in order to achieve the highest foreign policy objective. I wish you to retain the speed of these reforms, said Ms Heather Conley, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.
Mr Maris Riekstins also met with the ambassadors of 10 NATO candidate countries and the Nordic countries, the US Committee on NATO and Councillors of the US Senate and informed them about the preparations for the high level meeting of NATO candidate countries in Riga on 5 - 6 July.
Latvian Embassy to the United States of America