Baltic PMs agree on boosting defense cooperation

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On Monday the three Baltic Prime Ministers met in Vilnius where they attended a Baltic Ministers' Council work session and agreed on cooperation in boosting defense efforts, joint procurement and other matters, reported BNS Monday.

Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma, who resigned last week but still holds her post, was present with her counterparts Estonian Taavi Roivas and Lithuanian Algirdas Butkevicius.

Straujuma's press service reports that she said the meeting achieved closer cooperation in border protection as well as interior affairs. The Baltic states also adopted a joint position in the battle against terrorism. 

Straujuma said that today the first step will be taken within the framework of the European Energy Union by connecting the power grid of the Baltics and Europe, likely referring to the grid connections to Lithuania from Sweden and Poland unveiled today in Vilnius.

The Latvian Prime Minister said that agreement was reached over several practical matters - like joint procurement of medical equipment and in closer cooperation over healthcare for individuals stricken by rare diseases.

The Baltic premiers reaffirmed support for Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence, as well as asserted solidarity with Turkey, saying that each country has the right to defend its territory and people.

The premiers stressed the importance of strengthening Baltic security and defense cooperation, considering opportunities for joint procurement.

The next meeting is scheduled for February 26 in Rīga.

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