Top Latvian officials talk counterterrorism

On December 19 the State Security Service (VDD) held a meeting of the Counterterrorism Center Expert Advisory Board, where current developments in the field of counterterrorism were discussed.

"At the meeting, VDD experts and representatives of the institutions involved in the implementation of counterterrorism measures discussed the current trends of terrorism threats in Europe. Special attention was paid to the ongoing armed conflict between Israel and the terrorist organization Hamas and its impact on the threat of terrorism in Europe," said the VDD.

VDD experts informed the participants of the meeting about the counterterrorism measures taken in the last six months. The service has carried out systematic work both to prevent the risks of terrorism and to check and strengthen the readiness of the responsible services to react in the event of a terrorist threat it said.

On Tuesday, 7 September, standard terrorism response plans developed by the VDD were approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. The plans determine the action of the responsible authorities in the event of a terrorist attack.

VDD Counterterrorism Center Expert Advisory Board is the coordinating and consulting institution whose aim is to improve cooperation among state and municipal institutions, as well as the private sector within the counterterrorism field.

Representatives of the following institutions take part in the Advisory Board: Constitution Protection Bureau, Defence Intelligence and Security Service, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prosecutor General’s Office, Financial Intelligence Unit, National Armed Forces, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance, and the Latvia Central Bank.

This year the VDD hosted a cycle of regional seminars, the purpose of which was to strengthen the abilities of  responsible services working in different regions of Latvia to react in the event of a terrorist attack.

Similarly, VDD continued intensive work in strengthening the security of terrorism risk objects, evaluating the physical security measures of both critical infrastructure and places of mass gathering and providing recommendations for their improvement, it said.

Russia's shameless attacks on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine have put the protection of such facilities firmly on Latvia's agenda, too.

At the meeting, VDD counterterrorism experts also presented the performance in the second half of 2023 of the inter-institutional working groups established by the council – the radicalization prevention group "Prevent" and the Terrorism Financing Investigation Coordination Group.

The terrorism threat level in Latvia currently is low, and the VDD does not believe it will change in the near future.

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