Washington — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is discussing a wide range of issues, including security, the environment and women’s empowerment, with top officials, private sector leaders and civil society representatives during a four-day official tour of Finland, Latvia and Russia.
Clinton arrived in Helsinki, Finland, June 27 and is scheduled to visit Riga, Latvia, and St. Petersburg, Russia, before departing for Washington June 30.
The State Department said Clinton and Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja signed a new U.S.-Finland General Security of Information Agreement June 27, marking a significant step toward facilitating more information sharing between the two countries.
“The agreement covers all classified information passed between the two governments, and ensures that each country has appropriate and equal protection measures in place,” the department’s press office said following the signing. “Through an increase in information sharing, the United States and Finland will be able to further strengthen current cooperation in military-to-military, science and technology and energy projects.”
While in Helsinki, Clinton is also scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with top Finnish officials, including President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen. The State Department said the leaders are scheduled to discuss foreign policy priorities, including the European economy, Syria, Iran and climate change. They will also talk about energy, women’s empowerment and Afghanistan’s security.
A senior State Department official said that following those talks, Clinton will visit the Marimekko textile and clothing factory and participate in a Climate and Clean Air Coalition event to highlight the importance of reducing short-lived pollutants. The official, who asked to remain unnamed during a June 26 briefing on the trip, said the secretary will then take part in an event for the League of Green Embassies, an initiative to make U.S. embassies and residences around the world more environmentally friendly and efficient.
The official said Clinton will then travel to Latvia June 28, where she will meet with President Andris Bērziņš, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis and Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs. The leaders are set to talk about a wide range of bilateral and regional issues, including security cooperation in Afghanistan, energy issues and the global economic recovery. The secretary is then scheduled to lay a wreath at the Freedom Monument and participate in a street renaming in honor of former acting U.S. Secretary of State Sumner Welles.
Clinton's stop there marks the first visit to Latvia by a U.S. secretary of state since 1993, and Latvia will also be her 100th country visited as secretary.
Finally, she is scheduled to travel to St. Petersburg June 28, where she will lead the U.S. delegation to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women and the Economy forum. During the event, the State Department said, participants will focus on leadership, skills and capacity building in order to remove barriers to women’s full economic participation.
Clinton is scheduled to discuss a very wide range of bilateral and global issues in talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as well as Valentina Matviyenko, head of the Federation Council in Russia and the highest-ranking woman in the country’s government. She is also set to meet with private sector and civil society leaders before concluding her trip June 30.