Zatlers accredits diplomats, says goodbye to Larson

Latvian President Valdis Zatlers has accredited two new ambassadors and said farewell to U.S. Ambassador Charles Larson, the president’s press office announced during the first work week of January.

The new ambassador to Russia, Edgars Skuja, received his letter of accreditation Jan. 7. Skuja most recently served as assistant state secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and before that was Latvia’s ambassador to Estonia.

Skuja replaces Andris Teikmanis, who is back in Rīga serving as the state secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the former state secretary, Normans Penke, was handed the post of ambassador to the United Nations.

In his meeting with Skuja, Zatlers stressed the need to continue Latvia’s politicial dialogue with Russia and to improve economic, cultural and educational relations, according to the president’s press office. Zatlers also said addressing questions of history remains important, including the return of archives to Latvia.

Latvia’s new nonresident ambassador to Iceland will be Andris Sekacis, who also is the ambassador to Norway. He received his letter of accreditation from Zatlers on Jan. 9, according to a presidential spokesperson. Zatlers noted during their meeting that Iceland was the first nation to recognize Latvia’s renewed independence in 1991. Sekacis replaces Māris Klišāns.

In a Jan. 7 visit, U.S. Ambassador Larson said goodbye to Zatlers. Larson, appointed just last year, will be leaving Rīga to be replaced by a new ambassador yet to be appointed by Barack Obama, whose inauguration as the next U.S. president is scheduled Jan. 20. Zatlers thanked Larson for his work in helping to secure visa-free travel with the United States and for cooperation on security questions.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs last week also noted that Ambassador Juris Poikāns submitted his letter of accreditation to the government of Slovenia. He began his career with the ministry in 1993 and has served as part of the embassy staffs in Russia and Belarus.

In addition, the ministry noted the death of Jānis Lovniks, a 17-year veteran of Latvia’s diplomatic corps. Among other responsibilities, Lovniks was Latvia’s ambassador to China from 2004-2008.

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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