U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will address the Obama Administration’s foreign policy toward the Baltic states and Central Europe in a speech scheduled Oct. 22 in Bucharest, Romania, according to a spokesman in the U.S. Embassy in Rīga.
The speech comes at a time when political leaders are questioning the U.S. commitment to the region. In July, former Latvian President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga joined other leaders in addressing an open letter to President Barack Obama expressing concern, noting that “Central and Eastern Europe is at a political crossroads and today there is a growing sense of nervousness in the region.”
The letter came after the Obama Administration said it was looking to “reset” its relations with Russia. Last month, the U.S. dropped plans for placing a missile defense shield in Central Europe, a proposal criticized by Russia. The missiles, according to U.S. officials, were meant to protect European allies from possible missile attacks from Iran. However, a modified plan is now in the works.
U.S. National Security Advisor Tony Blinken, in an Oct. 19 conference call briefing with journalists, reiterated that while the Obama Administration wants better relations with Russia, “we continue to reject the notion of a sphere of influence.”
“We continue to stand by the right of sovereign democracies to choose their own alliances,” Blinken said.
Biden this week is visiting the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania to discuss U.S. cooperation with the region on issues of security, energy and climate change. The trip coincides with the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The vice president left for the region on Oct. 19, stopping first in Warsaw, Poland. From there he traveled to Bucharest, Romania, where the speech is scheduled at Central University. Biden’s trip will conclude in Prague, Czech Republic.
© 1995-2023 Latvians Online
Please contact us for editorial queries, or for permission to republish material. Disclaimer: The content of Web sites to which Latvians Online provides links does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Latvians Online, its staff or its sponsors.