Zatlers to address U.N. during New York visit

Latvian president Valdis Zatlers will travel Sept. 22 for a week-long visit to the United States, where he will meet first with members of the Latvian community in New York and then will participate in meetings at the United Nations, his press office has announced.

Also traveling to the United States is Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Both officials are scheduled to attend a 10 a.m. Sept. 23 service in the New York Latvian Ev.-Lutheran Church, 253 Valentine Lane, Yonkers, after which they will meet with community members. Archbishop Elmārs Rozītis will lead the service.

As the work week begins, Zatlers plans to be at a Sept. 24 meeting of world leaders to discuss global climate change. The meeting, titled “The Future in Our Hands,” is organized by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

On Sept. 25, the president is scheduled to participate in the opening of the general debate session of the 62nd annual U.N. General Assembly. Zatlers also will meet with Georgian President Mihail Saakashvili and participate in a roundtable on human rights and democracy organized by U.S. President George Bush.

In the afternoon, Zatlers and Pabriks are scheduled to officially open the Latvian honorary consulate in at 155 Perry St., New York City. Daris Gunārs Dēliņš, originally from Australia, became the honorary consul in New York City in July. He is the son of the late Emīls Dēliņš, who was editor of Austrālijas Latvietis and honorary consul in Australia, and brother of Jānis Roberts Dēliņs, the current honorary consul in Melbourne, Australia.

The president will be in the spotlight Sept. 26 as he opens that day’s debate in the General Assembly. Zatler’s speech is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. local time and, according to his press office, will touch on subjects such as reform of the U.N. Security Council, human rights, participation in peace-keeping missions and development work, international responsibility for guaranteeing stability in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the question of Kosovo. The president’s speech will be available as a live Webcast and will be archived at

Later in the day, Zatlers is to meet with Polish President Lech Kaczyński and Croatian President Stjepan Mesić.

Zatlers is scheduled to return to Latvia on Sept. 27.

In addition to attending a meeting of U.S. and European Union foreign ministers, Pabriks has separate meetings scheduled with Daniel Fried, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, as well as with the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Brazil. Pabriks also is to meet with representatives of American Jewish organizations.

Pabriks returns to Latvia on Sept. 28.

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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