During my trip to Riga last month, I read that many Latvians have fond impressions of Iceland because they recognised the independence of the Baltic states very early on.
Iceland were the first country in the world who recognised the independence of Lithuania. This happened on 11 February 1991 and it’s fair to say that the Russians weren’t particularly impressed at this arrangement. Although Russia finally also accepted Lithuanian independence on 6 September 1991, it was only because so many other countries had already made their positions clear.
Iceland made a clear political statement in 1991, and the above plaque marks that courageous decision. Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson was the Foreign Minister of Iceland who was behind the country’s decision, and he has today been honoured with Freedom of the City of Vilnius. And to thank the people of Iceland, they’ve also named a street in the country’s honour.