President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson and First Lady Eliza Reid hosted a dinner for the presidents and first ladies of the Baltic countries last night. The dinner marked the second stop in a celebratory programme commemorating reestablished diplomatic relations between the countries.
Thirty years since diplomatic relations were reestablished
Thirty-one years have passed since the Baltic countries and Iceland reestablished diplomatic relations (August 26, 1991), after the latter became the first country to recognise the Baltic states’ independence following the fall of the Soviet Union.
To commemorate the milestone, the presidents of the three Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – arrived in Iceland yesterday afternoon to participate in a celebratory programme.
President of Latvia Egils Levits and First Lady Andra Levite; president of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda and First Lady Diana Nausėdienė; and president of Estonia Alar Karis and First Lady Sirje Karis began their trip with a visit to Iceland’s Parliament. Birgir Ármannsson, Speaker of Parliament, welcomed the guests and offered a brief account of the institution’s history. The visitors then sat down with the representatives of Iceland’s political parties prior to concluding their evening with an official dinner at Bessastaðir, the presidential residence.
Accompanying the presidents are the three countries’ ministers of foreign affairs: Edgars Rinkēvičs of Latvia, Urmas Reinsalu of Estonia, and Gabrielius Landsbergis of Lithuania. The governors of Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius have also arrived in Iceland and attended last night’s dinner.
From Höfði til Þingvellir
A series of commemorative events have also been scheduled for today, beginning at Höfði, where the presidents of the Baltic countries will address attendees. Iceland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, will introduce a joint statement from the four countries, which all of the foreign ministers will sign.
The parties will then travel to the University of Iceland where President Guðni Th. will give a talk entitled “Icebreaker on the International Scene? Icelandic Support for Baltic Independence 1990–1991.” After the lecture, the four presidents will sit down and discuss their countries’ relationship.
In the late afternoon, the parties will sail to Viðey island where Iceland’s Prime Minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, will host a celebratory dinner. The dinner will be followed by a drive to the Hellisheiði Power Station where Iceland’s utilisation of green energy, and the work of the Icelandic Company Carbfix, will be introduced.
The final stop on the itinerary will be Þingvellir National Park.