NATO accredits Riga strategic communications center

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NATO formally accredited its new Riga-based Strategic Communications Center of Excellence, STRATCOM, Tuesday, reported LETA.

STRATCOM spokeswoman Linda Curika explained that the accreditation of the center means that Latvia now will join the list of 19 already existing centers hosted by other member-states, among them Estonia and Lithuania.

NATO inspectors assessed the center's preparedness during a two-day visit in August and then gave the thumbs-up for full accreditation.

The significance of the new center will be marked with an official launching ceremony at the NATO Summit in Wales September 4-5.

Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs gave the creation of the center a “highly approving appraisal” in an official statement Tuesday.

In 2012 Latvia stepped up to offer Riga as the host location for NATO’s strategic communications center proposed since 2009 by the alliance but without having found a home by that point.

On July 1 of this year Estonia, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, the UK and Germany signed a memorandum of understanding with Latvia during NATO talks in Norfolk, Virginia.

At the signing ceremony in the US, Latvian Defense Minister Raimonds Vejonis said “The battle for the hearts and minds of people nowadays is becoming more and more important.”

The center will help to counter worries in the Baltic states that Russia’s mounting propaganda campaign to win over the region's large ethnic Russian minority on the subject of Ukraine and other issues needs an effective counterweight in the information sphere. 

The STRATCOM website itself has not yet published an official release announcing the news of its own accreditation at this time, however tweeted it accordingly.


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