Gallery: Baltic prime ministers mark 30th anniversary of Baltic Way in Riga ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

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Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Baltic Way together with Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš and Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis in Riga on Friday.

The three prime ministers participated in an informal meeting of the Baltic Council of Ministers, where topics on the agenda included international cooperation as well as major joint projects such as Rail Baltica and the planned synchronization of the Baltics' power grids with that of Central Europe.

"On Aug. 23, 1989, Estonians, Lithuanians and Latvians stood shoulder to shoulder in the name of all of our freedom, so that we could live in independent, just and democratic countries," Ratas said in a statement released by the Government Office on Friday morning. "It is from there that we once again began our path toward joining the family of free and developed nations and began to build up everything that we can now enjoy and be proud of. This year we already celebrated the 15th anniversary of our accession to the EU and NATO together, which has given Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania a great deal of determination and certainty about the future."

The Baltic Way also marked 50 years since the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Ratas noted, adding that it was a crucial milestone on all of Eastern Europe's road to freedom.

Ratas and Skvernelis met on Friday with Kariņš as well as Speaker of the Saeima Ināra Mūrniece.

At 11 a.m., the three prime ministers laid a wreath at the foot of the Freedom Monument before visiting an exhibition about the Baltic Way.

A working lunch was then followed by a joint press conference at 2 p.m.

Later on Friday afternoon, the three prime ministers attended a festive reception, which included performances by Kremerata Baltica, a chamber orchestra featuring Baltic musicians, as well as authors Māris Bērziņš, Hasso Krull and Vladas Braziūnas.

The Baltic Council of Ministers was established in 1994 to ensure the continuity of cooperation between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania's state governments. The presidency of the Baltic Council of Ministers, which rotates on an annual basis, is held this year by Latvia.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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