Today 23 July marks the 80th anniversary of the Welles Declaration in which the United States of America condemned the illegal occupation and annexation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania by the Soviet Union.
In a joint statement to mark the historic anniversary, Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu together with his U.S. colleague Mike Pompeo, Foreign Minister of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius emphasised the consistently strong alliance between the Baltic countries and the United States. They also condemned Russia’s current attempts to manipulate history.
“We stand firmly against any attempts by Russia to rewrite history in order to justify the 1940 occupation and annexation of the Baltic states by the Soviet Union. The Welles Declaration shows that already in 1940 the free world recognized the Soviet action for what it was – an illegal act of forceful annexation,” reads the statement.
The U.S. Secretary of State and the Baltic foreign ministers confirmed their strong alliance in NATO, working together to safeguard peace and stability. The Baltic states value the United States’ contribution to European defense, notably, through maintaining regular deployments of forces to the Baltic States, crucial to deter any potential adversary.
According to Foreign Minister Reinsalu, the statement demonstrates the longstanding close relations between Estonia and the U.S. as well as acts as a strong message at a time when Russia continues its systematic attempts to manipulate history. “The policy of non-recognition of the occupation and annexation of Estonia was practised most consistently by the United States,” said Reinsalu.
“Thanks to the United States and other Western countries not recognising the occupation, diplomatic representations of the Republic of Estonia were able to continue operating in the free world. On this important anniversary we also acknowledge the Estonian diplomats who stood then and stand now in support of the statehood and sovereignty of the Republic of Estonia,” he added.
On 23 July 1940, the United States condemned the occupation and forceful annexation by the Soviet Union. The document is known as the Welles Declaration after the Acting Secretary of State Sumner Welles.
Read the joint statement in full: https://vm.ee/en/news/joint-statement-us-secretary-state-and-ministers-f…
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia