Artis Pabriks urges Jewish organisations in U.S. to back introduction of visa-free travel for Latvia

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia
Press Release

On 26 September in New York, Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks, during a meeting with representatives of Jewish organisations, urged them to support the introduction of the Visa Waiver Programme regarding Latvian citizens travelling to the U.S.

“Since the U.S. is a long-standing strategic partner and ally of Latvia, it is important for the co-operation to cover not only the political level but also to facilitate the active establishing of contacts between citizens of both countries. Visa-free travel would promote tourism development and co-operation in business thus strengthening transatlantic links,” said the Foreign Minister. Representatives of the Jewish organisations expressed support for the introduction of the Visa Waiver Programme with Latvia and promised to back our country in addressing this issue.

The Minister noted that Latvian legislation concerning the restitution of property is among the most liberal in Europe and that 63 properties have been returned to Jewish communities since 1995. Although the Saeima did not pass the bill On Support to Latvian Jewish Community, this issue is not rejected on its merits but a more appropriate solution needs to be found and legal uncertainties should be removed.

Representatives of the Jewish organisations expressed a readiness to engage in addressing this issue to find a legally grounded and feasible solution.