Upcoming NATO summit should work towards strengthening Baltic defence capabilities – Latvian foreign minister

The Foreign Affairs Ministers  of the nine allied states of the Eastern Flank – Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary gather for a photo in Bucharest at the 2016 summit,

RIGA, Oct 9 (LETA) – Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics today participated in the meeting of Central and Eastern European Foreign Ministers, or the so-called “Bucharest Nine” format, taking place in Warsaw, the Latvian Foreign Ministry said.

The meeting addressed preparations for the NATO Summit to be held in Brussels in summer 2018.
Collective defence and further adaptation of the Alliance to the present situation should be at the core of discussions at the upcoming NATO Summit in 2018, the Latvian foreign minister said.

“It is vital to move forward with the implementation of the decisions taken at the Wales and Warsaw summits by enhancing the sea and air components of collective defence capabilities in the Baltic States. It is also essential for us that Georgia and Ukraine remain on NATO’s agenda, and therefore we support the highest possible level of their representation at the Summit. The participation of Sweden and Finland in the NATO agenda is just as important,” Rinkevics said.

The meeting addressed the recent ZAPAD military exercise held by Russia and Belarus, which points to the overall increase in Russia’s military capabilities and their concentration close to the border of the Baltic States and Poland.
The Latvian foreign minister welcomed the current intensification of cooperation on security and defence at the level of NATO and the European Union. However, care should be taken that NATO’s functions and capabilities are complemented, not duplicated.

The countries of the “Bucharest Nine” format – Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, and Romania – maintain a regular dialogue at various levels. The previous Foreign Ministers’ meeting in this format took place on November 7-8, 2016.


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