Latvians’ visit lifts city links
CAIRNS has strengthened its ties with sister city Riga, the Latvian capital, welcoming former president Dr Valdis Zatlers this week.
Together with his wife Lilita, the pair visited Cairns as part of a nationwide tour.
During their visit they attended a special dinner with Mayor Bob Manning, as well as day trips to several attractions, including Cape Tribulation.
Cairns and Riga forged their sister city relationship at the International Sister Cities Convention hosted by Cairns in 1988.
“Cairns is very special to me. This is my third visit,” Dr Zatlers said.
“I have seen a lot of Cairns in my previous visits but never to Cape Tribulation or Port Douglas.
“It’s been a nice experience to come to Cairns again,” he said.
Dr Zatlers also had the chance to meet local Latvians and their families at a Latvian Independence Day dinner.
“This time I visited the Latvian community here in Cairns, which is a (low) numbered one,” he said.
“Meeting so many people from my country that are living away, it was very emotional.
“We talked about how we are planning for the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Latvia, as there will be a lot of events going on in Latvia.
“The top of the events next year would be the national festival of song.
“It is held every four years, so it’s special that it falls on the 100th anniversary.”
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SPECIAL TIES: Ex-president of Latvia, Dr Valdis Zatlers and his wife Lilita, in Cairns to celebrate Latvian Independence Day. Latvian capital Riga is a sister city of Cairns.