A joint statement about strengthening democratic values and human rights and increasing efforts to combat climate change was made by foreign ministers from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the UK on Wednesday at a meeting in Tallinn.
The meeting took place between Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom Dominic Raab, on his first visit to Estonia, Estonian foreign minister Eva-Maria Liimets and Latvian and Lithuanian foreign ministers Edgars Rinkevics and Gabrielius Landsbergis at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The ministers discussed cooperation between the Baltic States and the United Kingdom; security in Europe, including Russia, Ukraine and Belarus; international security such as NATO, transatlantic relations and China; and cybersecurity.
In the joint statement, the ministers agreed to continue working on strengthening democratic values, human rights, respect for international law and to increase efforts to defend media freedom and combat disinformation. They reaffirmed the importance of combating climate change and increasing the ambition of emission reduction targets ahead of COP26 in Glasgow in November.
Liimets said: "Naturally, we also covered issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We agreed that now it was important to make quick progress with vaccinations and learn from each other's successes. I invited the United Kingdom, Latvia and Lithuania to join the project of an international trust framework that Estonia is developing with the World Health Organization. This would provide countries with a global digital solution for a speedy mutual recognition of vaccination certificates. We also discussed making vaccines available to the world's least developed countries."
In recent days, both Latvia and Lithuania have offered help and support to Estonia to combat its coronavirus situation, which has seen the 14-day infection rate shoot up to the second highest in Europe and hospitals reach their capacity limits.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is on a two-day visit to Estonia. On Thursday, a bilateral meeting and press conference will be held between Liimets and Raab.
After the meeting on Wednesday, Raab tweeted: "The UK & the Baltic States are close allies & stand together in defence of democratic values."
The UK & the Baltic States are close allies & stand together in defence of democratic values. Valuable discussions in Tallinn today with Baltic Foreign Ministers @eliimets @GLandsbergis & @edgarsrinkevics on shared challenges & future partnerships https://t.co/eaOywTcH3G pic.twitter.com/bcQMS9kFBe— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) March 10, 2021
Editor: Helen Wright