Statement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the 24th anniversary of re-establishing ties with Baltic States

August 26, 2015

For immediate release

Statement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the 24th anniversary of re-establishing ties with Baltic States

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued this statement to mark the 24th anniversary of re-establishing diplomatic ties between Canada and the Baltic States:

“Twenty-four years ago today, following their declarations of independence from the Soviet Union, Canada re-established diplomatic relations with the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

“Canada never recognized the Soviet Union’s occupation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and always supported their courageous struggles to restore independence during 50 years of brutal Soviet oppression.

“Today, our Conservative government continues to stand with our Baltic allies – which are members of both the European Union and NATO – against the threat that the Putin regime poses, not only to Ukraine, but to the region as a whole. The Putin regime has made clear its expansionist and militaristic aspirations, but our Conservative government is committed to assisting our Baltic friends in thwarting such aggression.

“As a demonstration of solidarity with our NATO allies bordering Russia, members of the Canadian Armed Forces have participated in a number of joint military exercises, Canadian fighter jets have intercepted Russian military aircraft to preserve the integrity of Baltic airspace, and this past June, I was pleased to visit the crew of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Fredericton, which was patrolling the Baltic Sea as part of NATO assurance measure to promote security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe.

“Moreover, the abduction of Estonian police officer, Eston Kohver, by Russian security services on sovereign Estonian territory last year and his sham of a trial is cause for great concern, and yet another example of the regime’s flagrant disregard for international law.

“Just a few days ago Canadians paid tribute to the millions of victims of Soviet Communism. Today, we reassure our Baltic friends that we will continue to actively support our allies in the region in the stand against Putin’s tyranny.

“On this anniversary celebrating Canada-Baltic ties, I offer the approximately 100,000 Canadians of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian descent my best wishes.”

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