USA, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia make a statement on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Welles declaration
Ambassador Polt on 70th Anniversary of Welles Declaration (Courtesy of ETV)
The Declaration laid the foundation laid the foundation for the policy of non-recognition of the occupation and annexation of the Baltic states by the Soviet Union
U.S. Secretary of State and Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian Foreign Ministers issued a joint statement to mark the 80th anniversary of the signing of the Welles Declaration.
«Today we celebrate the 80th anniversary of the signing of the Welles Declaration, which laid the foundation for the US policy of non-recognition of the occupation and annexation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania by the Soviet Union.», – said in a statement.
«Welles’ Declaration established an international framework for the legal continuation of the existence of the three Baltic states throughout the entire period of Soviet occupation and for the subsequent restoration of the statehood of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The peoples of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania value the Declaration for the hope it gave them during the difficult times of totalitarian rule», – further emphasized in document.
«We strongly oppose any attempt by Russia to rewrite history to justify the occupation and annexation of the Baltic states in 1940 by the Soviet Union., – say the ministers of the countries that signed the declaration. – Wells’ Declaration shows that already in 1940 the free world recognized the actions of the Soviet Union for what they were: an illegal act of forced annexation. Unfortunately, even the end of World War II a few years later did not bring liberation to the Baltic States and other peoples of Eastern and Central Europe. Repression and persecution followed instead.».
«The legacy of the Welles Declaration and the strong support of the United States for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Baltic states have contributed to the establishment of a thriving relationship between our countries since the collapse of the USSR. Through our membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, we have become strong allies working together to bring about peace and stability. The commitment of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to the transatlantic alliance remains undeniable. The Baltic States value the United States’ contribution to European defense, in particular through the regular deployment of forces in the Baltic States, which is essential to deter any potential adversary.», – state the authors of the document.
The statement further emphasizes: «The historic importance of the Welles Declaration remains highly relevant in the 21st century, as some countries challenge key principles and norms of a rules-based international order, in particular sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Welles Declaration principles were reactivated on July 25, 2018, when the United States reaffirmed its refusal to accept the Russian Federation’s attempted annexation of Crimea.».
«we – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the United States – Together we maintain a rules-based international order that ensures the security and prosperity of every country», –state foreign ministers of the United States and the Baltic states