Regarding meeting of ex-mayor of New York R.Guiliani with the Latvian firefighters

Today, on November 28, the ex-mayor of New York Rudolph Guiliani visited Latvian Firefighting museum where he met with the management of the Ministry of the Interior, representatives of State Firefighting and Rescue Service (SFRS) and State Police (SP). Also U.S. Ambassador to Latvia Catherine Todd Bailey participated in the official meeting together with Mr Guiliani.

The high-ranked persons in the morning were met by the Minister of the Interior Ivars Godmanis, Riga City mayor Aivars Aksenoks, State Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior (MoI) Aivars Straume, Head of State Firefighting and Rescue Service (FFRS) Ainars Pencis, as well as Deputy Head of State Police (SP) Arvīds Marhels.

Addressing the ex-mayor of New York City the Minister of the Interior I. Godmanis said that he and all attendants had the honour to get acquainted with a legendary man who in the exquisite days of September 11 bore great burden of responsibility, coordinated the work of all responsible services and took thousands of decisions to save people’s lives. „With his decisive action and support for firefighters and police Mr Guiliani has become a legendary mayor and symbol of humanity not only in America, but in the whole modern world”, said I. Godmanis.

However the mayor of New York, repaying for the warm welcoming, admitted his kindred relation to the representatives of firefighting and police professions. Namely, there are four policemen and one firefighter among the family members of R.Guiliani. It has partially influenced to connect his professional choice with law. It should be mentioned that from 1994 to Autumn 2001 R.Guiliani was the mayor of New York and the level of crime significantly decreased in New York during his governance.

To the attending firefighters the ex-mayor of New York said that in those tragic events of September 11, New York firefighters saved 10 to 11 thousand of people’s lives since they acted selflessly, soberly and bravely. „I think that you are the same as the firefighters and policemen in New York,” said R.Guiliani adding that: „when firefighters in the United States of America are mentioned, I know that those can be also you – Latvian firefighters. You would act with the same return!”

The ex-mayor of New York in the Hall of Fame of Latvian Firefighting museum signed the Guest book. However the high-ranked guest turned great attention to the permanent exposition related to the memory of the tragic events of September 11. He admitted that he knew many families in person whose relatives died in the terrible events of September, and promised to tell that also in Latvia there is a special exhibition dedicated to New York rescuers in the dramatic hours of USA faith in 2001.

The ex-mayor of New York with a great interest looked at the permanent exhibition of the museum and historical firefighting technique – hand and steam pumps, motor pumps, fire-engine "Chevrolet-Sux" of 1930 edition, fire-hats, instruments, uniforms, fire alarm devices, hydrants, etc. Museum director Velta Žerdiņa introduced the high-ranked guest with the history and today of the Latvian firefighting service.

Mr R.Guiliani upon receipt of the invitations to NATO Summit in Riga had already expressed the wish to meet with SFRS and SP employees. In 2001 after the tragedy of September 11 in New York the president Vaira Vīķe – Freiberga brought gratitude of Latvian State Firefighting and Rescue Service to New York firefighters for bravery saving people from the destroyed World Trade Centre.

Thus the visit of the legendary mayor to SFRS museum, meeting with the management of MoI, firefighters and policemen to some extent might be considered as a responsive visit of R.Guiliani.

Prepared by:
Department of Press and Public Relations
telephone 7219213
Fax 7219030