Late in Friday evening, around 22.00, the USA president George Bush is arriving in Riga. He will stay in Latvia till Saturday evening, and during the visit will meet Presidents of the three Baltic Sates.
The First lady Lora Bush, as well as State Secretary Condoles Rise will arrive together with the President.
Calendar of events
Friday, May 6
22:00 — arrival of the USA President George Bush in Riga
Saturday, May 7
10:00 — Ceremonious meeting by Riga Castle
10:15 — Giving of the 1st degree Three Stars Order to George Bush
10:30 — bilateral meeting of the USA and Latvian Presidents in Riga Castle with participation of the Premier Aigars Kalvītis
11:35 — the USA President puts flowers by the Freedom Monument
12:05 — Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga and George Bush organizing a meeting with representatives of civil society at the House of Latvians
14:30 — the USA and Baltic Presidents meet journalists at the House of Latvians
17:10 — George Bush addresses Latvian public from the Small Guild
18:30 — the President leaves Latvia
The USA President’s visit to Latvia is not only symbolic, but also a practical one, to demonstrated once again the huge political support to the small Baltic States and understanding of their independence and freedom. This is also indicated in his latest days’ statements. During the visit Bush will emphasize that the USA partnership with Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia is strong and based on common values — democracy, power of law and tolerance.
During the visit in Riga the USA President will expound on the widest meaning of freedom and democracy, pointing out that freedom and democracy does not mean only elections, but also building of an open and integrated society, which means protection of rights of the minorities by the power of law and strong and independent institutions. This is why his visit to Riga will be so important for all the parties involved, and one of the main topics will be strengthening of civil society and national partnership.
After the visit in Latvia the USA President will visit the Netherlands, then Moscow, where he will participate in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Victory Day on May 9. While meeting with the President of Russia Vladimir Putin, Bush will talk about the historic destiny of the Baltic States. Bush has already earlier pointed to the fact of occupation more than once. He has also acknowledged it in the official letter to the President of Latvia Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga.
After the visit to Moscow the USA President will complete the European tour by visit to Georgia.
The center of Riga will be closed during the USA President’s visit. There have been requests for inhabitants to leave the city if possible. The center of Riga was quiet already on Friday morning.