Well, Prime Minister, thank you very much for those warm words of solidarity and partnership. Certainly, the United States highly values our relationship with Latvia. We were proud never to have wavered in supporting the independence of Latvia and the Latvian people, and we are proud now to be a partner of a free Latvia. And I want to commend you and your government for the very difficult decisions that you took in terribly challenging economic circumstances to chart a path forward that will provide a stable, prosperous future for the people of this country. We also highly value our relationship in our alliance of NATO and commend Latvia for your participation in Afghanistan and the central role that you play in the Northern Distribution Network.
We were proud in Chicago to endorse for the future the Baltic Air Policing Mission that demonstrates tangibly the commitment that the United States and NATO has to the defense of Latvia. We think there is a great deal of work that we can do together to further the prosperity and energy security of Latvia. There will be a U.S. business mission coming to Latvia, a U.S. congressional delegation coming to Latvia in the next few weeks which demonstrates, in a very personal way, our commitment to you.
And on a personal note, I well remember my visit here with my husband in 1994, when we were able to see the beginning of Latvian sovereign independence in those early years as you consolidated your freedom, and the speech that he made in the square here in Riga talking about both the opportunities and the responsibilities of freedom. And so for all that you have achieved under difficult circumstances, I want to commend you, Prime Minister, your government, and especially the Latvian people. Thank you.