Congratulations, Latvia, on 20 years of restored independence!
Two decades ago, in the face of uncertainty and danger, your legislature voted to restore Latvia’s sovereignty, breaking the Soviet Union’s hold over your country. That brave decision was backed by the will of the Latvian people, many of whom risked their lives to make sure that they defended independence.
Today, your vibrant democracy is an inspiration to countries around the world that are now struggling themselves toward freedom. Your efforts to bring peace and stability to places torn by conflict and devastated by disaster are a testament to the spirit of the Latvian people.
Rebuilding a nation after five decades of occupation is not easy, but you can be proud of what you have achieved in the last twenty years. Membership in NATO and the European Union took patience and persistence, and they were richly deserved.
The United States is honored to call you a strategic ally and a close friend and we look forward to working with you to meet the challenges of this, the 21st century.
So again, I offer you the congratulations and best wishes of the American people – for all of your past accomplishments and for all the promise that your future holds.