Enhanced NATO presence likely needed for 10 years in Latvia

One of Latvia's most experienced politicians and diplomats said November 1 that NATO would most likely need to keep its beefed-up presence in the Baltic states for 10 years.

Ojārs Eriks Kalninš, chairman of the Saeima's foreign affairs committee and a long-time ambassador to the United States during the period in which Latvia was occupied by the Soviet Union, made the estimate while in Canada.

"I think it's important to indicate a readiness to be there ... if it requires 10 years," reported Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper.

"We're hoping it's not permanent, because for it to be permanent, it means the threat is permanent," Kalninš said.

Canada is the lead nation among NATO's "enhanced Forward Presence" (eFP) in Latvia, with around 450 troops and equipment stationed on Latvian soil. At present the commitment from Canada extends until the end of March, 2019.

The Commander of the Canadian Army, Lieutenant-General Paul Wynnyk, travelled to Latvia to meet with soldiers currently deployed as part of the eFP battlegroup on October 30, Lieutenant-General Wynnyk’s first trip to visit the troops since they deployed in June 2017.

"I’m extremely proud of the men and women of the Canadian Army who display outstanding professionalism in support of our NATO Ally, Latvia. NATO’s multinational battlegroup in Latvia is a clear demonstration of NATO’s solidarity, determination and ability to deter and defend Latvia’s population and territory against any possible aggression,” Wynnyk said during the visit.

Lieutenant-General Wynnyk visited Camp Ādaži and met with soldiers who recently completed Exercise SILVER ARROW, a Latvian-led exercise designed to improve the cooperation of their National Armed Forces with Allies, as well as improving the planning and implementation of defensive operations.

Albania, Italy, Poland, Slovenia and Spain are also in Latvia alongside the Canadian forces. You can read more about the Canadian commitment HERE.

 

 

 

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