On behalf of the people and government of the United States, I wish to congratulate Latvia on the 101st anniversary of your independence.
The United States and Latvia share a commitment to democratic values and to the protection of human freedoms. Today, Latvia is recognized internationally as a vibrant, flourishing democracy that stands as a powerful example of the success and strength of our Transatlantic community. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Revolutions, including the Baltic Way, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. This fall, on our National Mall, the three Baltic Embassies, including Latvia, and members of our robust Baltic-American diaspora organized a re-enactment of the Baltic Way in front of the U.S. Capitol building to celebrate the bravery of Baltic citizens, standing up to Soviet oppression on August 23, 1989. Over the last 30 years, we have grown stronger together.
In 2019, Latvia also celebrated the 15th anniversary of its accession to NATO, and we are grateful to have Latvia as our Ally. The United States and Latvia share an enduring commitment to NATO’s Article 5. We commend Latvia for serving as a model NATO Ally, budgeting two percent of GDP for defense again this year. Our soldiers serve together in Iraq and Afghanistan and we thank Latvia for its significant contributions to security and stability throughout the world.
We congratulate the people and nation of Latvia on all your achievements. Your determination and unbreakable spirit remain an example to people around the world.