Latvian officials visit United Nations, U.S.

Latvian President Vaira Vīke-Frieberga on Sept. 12 began a week-long visit to New York, where she is expected to voice Latvia’s support for reform of the 60-year-old United Nations.

Vīķe-Freiberga is one of five special envoys chosen by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to help raise awareness for the reform movement.

During the week, the president is scheduled to participate in a number of discussions with other international leaders. The 60th General Assembly opens its session Sept. 13. A World Summit, a meeting of more than 170 heads of state and government, is scheduled Sept. 14-16.

Vīķe-Freiberga also will participate in the inaugural meeting in New York of the Clinton Global Initiative, a project of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the Latvian president’s press office announced. The initiative is focused on bringing world leaders together to discuss pragmatic solutions to global problems such as poverty and climate change.

Also visiting the United States will be Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks. From Sept. 14-20 he will be in New York attending the General Assembly meeting and conferring with other officials from European Union states.

On Sept. 20, Pabriks is scheduled to travel to San Francisco to visit the Hoover Institute at Stanford University, according to a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Pabriks also is expected to meet with the local Latvian community while in San Francisco.

Also visiting the United States is Ingrīda Ūdre, chair of the Saeima, as well as members of parliament Uldis Mārtiņs Klauss and Viesturs Šiliņš. They are scheduled to be in Washington, D.C., from Sept. 12-13 to meet with members of Congress and other U.S. officials.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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