President, ministers sync Latvia’s pre-summit position

In preparation for Wednesday’s scheduled talks in Tallinn between US President Barack Obama and the three Presidents of the Baltic States, Latvian President Andris Bērziņš, Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs and Defense Minister Raimonds Vējonis said in a joint release Tuesday that the timing of Obama’s visit sent an important signal.

“Security has been and remains the foundation stone of the Latvian-US partnership,” said Berzins.

“Latvia has expressed and will continue to show its support for US efforts and significant actions in consolidating a strong international position against the Russian invasion into Ukraine,” he said in a Chancellery release Tuesday.

The state officials were also of one mind that among the top issues of concern in the Baltic region would be the leading role of the US in ensuring visible military presence in the NATO member states, including Latvia – on air, land and sea – “as long as necessary.”

Military presence is defined in the statement as "regular military training on a rotational basis in the Baltic states and Poland, in addition to the creation of separate command structures."

At the same time the meeting with the American president is an opportunity to "thank him for his timely and strong message of support to our region’s security – the initiative to strengthen Europe."

Immediately after Wednesday's 'mini summit' in Tallinn when Obama will meet all three Baltic heads of state, he will fly on to the UK for a much-anticipated NATO summit that could shape the security landscape of the region for decades to come.

Additional agenda items in these talks amongst the US and Baltic heads-of-state will be the Baltic-US cyber-security partnership, the EU-US Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, strengthening trans-Atlantic ties in the energy sector between the US and Europe, as well as promoting economic development and good governance in the EU Eastern Partnership and Central Asian states, which will be the priority of Latvia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2015.

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