The new U.S. ambassador to Latvia, Judith Garber, has taken her oath of office and is expected to travel to Rīga on Aug. 24 to present her credentials to President Valdis Zatlers, according to the American Latvian Association (ALA).
Garber, who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate late last month, was sworn in Aug. 14 during a ceremony in the State Department in Washington, D.C.
Representatives of the ALA—including Chairman Juris Mežinskis, Public Affairs Director Jānis Kukainis, Treasurer Gustavs Plato and Executive Director Raits Eglītis—met with Garber a day before the ceremony. They discussed diplomatic issues, including U.S. and Latvian cooperation in political, economic and military affairs, U.S. relations with Russia, economic concerns, and how Latvian-Americans can help.
Garber emphasized that U.S. policy toward the Baltic states will remain unchanged under the administration of President Barack Obama. The U.S. values Latvia as a strategic partner, Garber said, according to an ALA press release.
During her term as ambassador, Garber told the ALA representatives, she will try to understand and build bridges between Latvians and Latvia’s Russian speakers.
The new ambassador also told ALA representatives that she is convinced Latvia will soon overcome its economic crisis and will learn from the experience. In the global recession, Latvia has been one of the worst-hit European countries. Its government has been forced to make deep cuts in the national budget to avoid bankruptcy.
Garber is the seventh U.S. ambassador to Rīga since Latvia regained independence in 1991. She is a career diplomat who most recently served as a deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.
The new U.S. ambassador to Latvia meets with representatives of the American Latvian Association in Washington, D.C. From left to right are ALA Public Affairs Director Jānis Kukainis, Ambassador Judith Garber, State Department intern Anna Grants, ALA Treasurer Gustavs Plato and ALA Chairman Juris Mežinskis. (Photo courtesy of the American Latvian Association)
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