Vīķe-Freiberga to address Congress on June 7

Latvian President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga is scheduled to address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress at 11 a.m. ET June 7, according to the president’s press office.

Vīķe-Freiberga, on a visit to the United States in late February and early March, was invited by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert to address Congress.

Joint meetings of Congress are infrequent. So far this year, only three have been held and all were to hear from foreign leaders: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and Silvio Berlusconi, who at the time was prime minister of Italy. In addition, President George W. Bush presented his State of the Union to a joint session of Congress.

Vīķe-Freiberga’s appearance before Congress in Washington, D.C., will cap a weeklong visit to the United States that will begin with her arrival May 31 in Los Angeles. From June 1-4, the president will attend the the 45th annual International Achievement Summit. Vīķe-Freiberga also will meet June 3 with members of the Latvian community in Los Angeles.

In Washington, the president is expected on June 5 to present the 7th Annual Peter Weitz Journalism Prize at a meeting of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. On June 6, she will meet with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. And after the president’s June 7 address to Congress, Vīķe-Freiberga is scheduled to meet with Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, as well as with business representatives.

Vīķe-Freiberga will leave for Latvia on June 8, arriving in Rīga on June 9.

(UPDATED 30 MAY 2006)

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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