US ambassador: Nato is Latvia's security guarantee

Latvia's membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) is a guarantee of the country's security, outgoing United States ambassador to Latvia Mark Pekala said Thursday.

Speaking to LTV's evening Panorama news show as he prepares to leave Latvia after a two-year stint, Pekala said: “Latvia is safe because it is a NATO member, and that provides Latvia with a guarantee."

"President Berzins has had several meetings with our President Obama and with Vice President Biden. Prime Minister Straujuma has also been to the United States. In each of these meetings, both public and private, we have said that the US guarantees Latvia's security one hundred percent. We and the other Nato members stand up for Latvia just as Latvia stands up for other Nato members," said Pekala.

The world had become a more dangerous place during his time in Latvia but the reasons for that lay with Russia, Pekala said.

“Russia must do more. We see that a Malaysian plane was shot down, and we see that before Russia was supporting and training separatists in eastern Ukraine and has violated the sovereignty of Ukraine... What we want from Russia is genuine cooperation. We do not see it."

Pekala has been a popular diplomat in Latvia having made a clear effort to visit regions beyond Riga and impressing many with his efforts to learn the Latvian language in a short period of time.

His successor has yet to be named.

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