LETA, Latvian Information Agency, 2 July 2017
RIGA, 2 July (LETA) – The Czech Republic and Slovakia will also contribute troops to the Canada-led multinational NATO battalion in Latvia next year, Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis (Greens/Farmers), who is attending a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, told LETA.
“The two countries’ decisions to send their soldiers to this battle group in Latvia are pleasant, and I am very thankful,” the Latvian minister said, adding that the arrival of the Czech and Slovak troops will also represent a challenge to Latvia as a host country.
Talks are under way with Canada, the battle group’s lead nation, on the number of troops.
The minister noted that a Slovak mechanized infantry company already spent several months in Latvia this past spring to boost security. The Slovak infantry company was deployed to Latvia in line with an agreement, reached at NATO’s Warsaw summit, on Visegrad countries’ involvement in bolstering the Baltic states’ security. The Slovak infantrymen have already left Latvia.
The meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels is still ongoing, with the ministers discussing the implementation of the agreements reached at the 2016 Warsaw summit, the significance of NATO Enhanced Forward Presence in the Baltics and Poland, strengthening transatlantic ties, raising member states’ defense budgets, the Alliance’s involvement in combating terrorism, as well as EU-NATO cooperation.