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Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta


Visit of Latvian Foreign Minister, focus on Ukraine


The Grand Chancellor of the Order of Malta, Albrecht Boeselager, received the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, yesterday for a working luncheon. The meeting at the Magistral Villa in Rome was also attended by the Grand Hospitaller, Dominique de La Rochefoucauld-Montbel and Ambassador Stefano Ronca, the Order of Malta’s Secretary General for Foreign Affairs.

The very serious situation in Ukraine was naturally the focus of the talks, including the situation of displaced persons outside and within the country, the risk of a mass exodus if the conflict were to move to the west and the question of how to guarantee security for humanitarian convoys entering Ukraine. The long-term integration of displaced persons and the impact of increases in raw material prices on economies – especially in low-income countries – were also addressed by the two delegations.

According to official figures, Ukrainian refugees in Latvia currently amount to a few hundred, but other estimates indicate some 4,000 people, who may soon become 10,000. The Order of Malta’s Embassy in Riga is in contact with Caritas and the humanitarian association Gribu Palidzet Begliem (meaning “I want to help refugees”) to support and assist Ukrainian citizens fleeing the war.

Minister Rinkēvičs thanked the Order of Malta for its efforts in Latvia and for the humanitarian efforts put in place to mitigate the human suffering of the crisis and assured its willingness to intervene in case of need.

The Order of Malta does not have an association in Latvia, but instead a local Relief Corps (MOPD), reactivated last summer thanks to the commitment and close collaboration between the Order’s ambassador to the Baltic country, Alberto Bertoldi, the Order of Malta’s German Relief Corps and the local Caritas. The Latvian corps currently has 25 members and has managed to launch its first actions in Riga, Saldus and Liepaja.

After the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, all the relief organizations in Latvia have set up an online coordination, which MOPD intends to join with medium or even long-term operations. Its contribution will be concentrated on material aid, psychological and spiritual support, Latvian language courses for refugees who remain in the country as well as educational and psychological/therapeutic activities with refugee children.

Diplomatic relations with Latvia were established in 1995. Last May the Lieutenant of the Grand Master received the President of Latvia, Egils Levits, during an official visit to Rome.

The Order of Malta has enjoyed diplomatic relations with all three Baltic states since March 2020, when relations with Estonia were also established.

visit latvian foreign minister focus ukraine

Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta

Magistral Palace, Via Condotti, 68 Rome - Italy

Tel. +39.06.67581.1 | [email protected]