Italy invited to join NATO reinforcement of Latvia

During a meeting September 14 with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis expressed hope that Italy will join the Canadian-led multinational NATO battalion which will be deployed to Latvia, reported LETA.

During the meeting, which took place at a conference in Bulgaria, the two sides praised their cooperation on security matters, which is important in implementing the decisions made during the recent NATO Summit in Warsaw.

''We are happy at the decision made during the NATO Summit in Warsaw on strengthening the alliance's presence in the Baltic region and Poland, which foresees the deployment of a Canadian-led multinational battalion in Latvia,'' Vejonis said.

The president also thanked Italy for its contribution to Latvia's security by participating in the NATO air-policing mission in the Baltics and in the work of the NATO Strategic Communication Center of Excellence in Riga.

The president also extended an invitation to the Italian president to visit Latvia in 2018, when the country will be celebrating its centennial anniversary.

At the same time, Vejonis pointed out that this is a very important year in Latvian-Italian relations, as it marks 25 years since diplomatic relations were re-established between the two countries.

As previously reported, Canada will lead a NATO reinforcement battalion in Latvia next year but other nations, possibly including Italy, are also expected to contribute smaller numbers of troops.

Italian military officers have already inspected facilities in Latvia.

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