Māris Riekstiņš (born 8 April 1963, Riga, Latvia) is a Latvian politician and diplomat with an extensive experience in the foreign service, former Foreign Minister of the Republic of Latvia (November 2007 – April 2010). He is currently the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Latvia to NATO in Brussels, Belgium.
Māris Riekstiņš’ career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia began in 1992 as a Desk Officer of the Political Department of the Europe Division, which was soon followed by the position of the Director of the Western Europe Division. In 1993, he became the Under-secretary of State, soon assuming the duties of the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He remained in that position until his posting as the Ambassador of Latvia to the United States in 2004, and additionally non-resident Ambassador to Mexico. For most of 2007 Riekstiņš was Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister of Latvia. In November 2007 Riekstiņš was elected to the post of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia and held this position until April 2010, when his party stepped out of the government. In February, 2011 Ambassador Riekstiņš commenced his duties as the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Latvia to NATO in Brussels.
In his career Riekstiņš has also been Head of the Latvian Delegation for Accession into NATO, Chairman of the Advisory Council for Latvia’s membership into the World Trade Organization (WTO), Head of Delegation of Latvia in WTO talks in Seattle (1999), Doha (2000) and Cancun (2003). He has led the delegation for the U.S.-Baltic Partnership Charter and also been the Head of Latvian delegation for Estonian-Latvian sea border delimitation (agreement concluded in 1997 and ratified), as well as Lithuanian-Latvian sea border delimitation (agreement concluded in 1999, not ratified yet).
Riekstiņš has a law degree from the University of Latvia, preceded by graduation of the Faculty of Pedagogy of the Latvian Sports Institute. He is married and has two children.
Party affiliation and political career
In 2006 Māris Riekstiņš joined the People’s Party (Tautas Partija) of Latvia, member of the European People’s Party (EPP) group. He has been its board member and presidential candidate for the 2007 Presidential elections in Latvia, followed by election as the Foreign Minister in November 2007. He held this position in three coalition governments under the leadership of Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis (People’s Party), Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis (LPP/LC) and Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (New Era/Jaunais laiks). In the run up to the 10th Saeima (Latvian parliament) elections in October 2010 Riekstiņš was a high-ranking candidate for the parliament member post and the foreign policy coordinator of the Political Alliance “For A Good Latvia”, of which the People’s Party was an integral part of.
- 1987–1993 University of Latvia, Faculty of Law, lawyer
- 1981–1985 Latvian Sports Institute, Faculty of Pedagogy, teacher
- February 2011 - Permanent Representative of the Republic of Latvia to NATO
- May 2010 - Leading Scholar, Association “Sustainable Society Institute”
- November 2007 – April 2010 - Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia
- January 2007 – November 2007 - Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia
- 2006 - 2007 - Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Latvia to the United Mexican States (country of residence: USA)
- 2004 - 2007 - Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Latvia to the United States of America
- 1993 - 2004 - State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia
- November 1992 -August 1993 - Under-secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia
- March 1992 -November 1992 - Director of the Western Europe Division; Director of the Europe Division; Desk Officer of the Political Department of the Europe Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia
- 1987–1992 - Deputy Chairman; Desk Officer of the Committee of Latvian Youth Organisations
- May 2009 - Chairman of the Counsellors’ Convention, Latvian Academy of Sports Education
- 2003 - Deputy Chairman of the Council, Latvian Basketball Association
- June 2010 –November 2010 - Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia
- 2002–2004 - Head of the Latvian delegation for accession negotiations with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)
- January 2002 - July 2002 - Chairman of Supervisory Committee on Organisation of the NATO Aspirant Countries Summit in Riga on 5 and 6 July 2002
- 1999–2004 - Chairman of the Advisory Council for the Membership of Latvia in the World Trade Organisation
- 1997–1998 - Head of the Latvian delegation for the U.S.-Baltic Partnership Charter
- 1998–2004 - Head of the Latvian-Italian Economic Working Group
- 1996–2004 - Chairman of the Diplomatic Service Agency's Shareholders Council
- July 1996 - July 1999 - Head of the Latvian delegation for negotiations on Latvian-Lithuanian sea border delimitation
- October 1995 - July 1996 - Head of the Latvian delegation for negotiations on Latvian-Estonian sea border delimitation
- 1995–2004 - Chairman of the Control Committee of Strategic Goods of Republic of Latvia
|2008||Grand Cross of Merit of the Order of Malta|
|2008||Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise of the Republic of Ukraine|
|2007||Cross of Recognition of the Republic of Latvia, Grand Officer|
|2004||National Order of Merit of Malta|
|2004||Order of Merit of the Italian Republic "Grand Official"|
|2003||Three Star Order of Latvia, Commander|
|2003||Ordem do Infante D. Henrique Grande Oficial, Portugal|
|2003||3rd Class Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana of Estonia|
|2001||Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, 4th class|
|2001||French National Order of Merit, Grand Officer|
|2000||Royal Norwegian Order of Merit, Grand Officer|
|1998||Royal Norwegian Order of Merit, Commander|
Riekstiņš is a native Latvian-speaker with proficiency in English, Russian and German.
- Official webpage of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization http://www.nato.int
- Official webpage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia http://www.am.gov.lv
- Webpage of the Embassy of Latvia to the United States of America in Washington, DC http://www.latvia-usa.org
- Webpage of the People’s Party of Latvia (available in Latvian) http://www.tautaspartija.lv