Rinkēvičs: NATO and EU must close ranks

The European Union and the NATO alliance must cooperate more closely, urged Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs Thursday, speaking in discussion on the second and final day of the working session of the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Antalya, Turkey.

Latvia’s top diplomat pointed out that Russia’s behavior hasn’t changed in that it continues aggressive military activities near NATO state borders, among them in the Baltic region. Therefore there is no basis for changing the alliance’s position in its relations with Russia, he said.

“We see that Russia’s military flights by NATO borders aren’t being reduced, the Crimean peninsula is occupied and the Black Sea region is militarizing. Russia’s behavior hasn’t changed and NATO’s cooperation with it has ceased. Such are the new norms in relations between NATO and Russia. We must maintain dialogue with Russia, but at the same time give a strong signal about the goals of the North Atlantic alliance, which are readiness, deterrence and defense,” Rinkēvičs said.

He also brought attention to the need for the EU to work more closely in the non-military realm with NATO, including fields such as organized crime, terrorism, foreign insurgent fighters, contraband smuggling, human trafficking and strategic communication.

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