Latvia, Canada agree terms of military deployment

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On April 18 in Riga, Latvia and Canada signed an agreement that establishes terms under which Canada will take charge of a multinational NATO battalion on Latvian soil.

Brigadier-General Ivo Mogilnijs, Chief of Staff of the Joint Headquarters of the Latvian National Armed Forces and Canadian Armed Forces Brigadier-General Bruce Ploughman, Chief of Staff Readiness Canadian Joint Operations Command signed a technical agreement, which includes the main terms of the Canadian-led NATO multinational battalion-sized battle group's deployment, operation and admission to Latvia. 

The text of the agreement has not been released.

"I am delighted that the Canadian-led battle group will soon be deployed to Latvia, and this agreement is the basis for the success of the operation," said Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis on the signing.

"Latvia is a member state of the world's strongest military alliance Member State and the presence of the Canadian-led battle group will significantly strengthen our national security," Bergmanis said. 

"The Government of Canada is committed to taking concrete action so that Canadians – and people around the world – can feel safe and secure in their communities. Canada will lead a robust multinational NATO battlegroup in Latvia, becoming one of four Framework Nations, as part of the Alliance’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) in Central and Eastern Europe," a statement by the Canadian government said. 

"This event brings us one step closer to the arrival of Canadian Armed Forces personnel in Latvia, alongside our partners from Albania, Italy, Poland, Slovenia and Spain. Our leadership of the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup reaffirms our unwavering commitment to NATO and its goal of collective security," said Canada's Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.

While the lead troops from Germany are already in Lithuania and lead troops from the UK are in Estonia, Latvia must wait until June before its full Canadian contingent is expected. 

As reported, the NATO multinational battalion-sized battle group in Latvia will consist of some 1,000 allied troops, including up to 455 Canadian Armed Forces soldiers.

Membership of the Canadian-led multinational battle group in Latvian will also include Albania, Italy, Poland, Slovenia and Spain.

Canada will be establishing its largest sustained military presence on Allied territory since the early 1990s by leading a multinational eFP Battlegroup in Latvia as part of Operation Reassurance.

Canada will contribute a Land Task Force of up to 455 personnel including a battlegroup headquarters element, a mechanized infantry company, combat service support, vehicles and equipment based in Latvia.

As announced by the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in July 2016, Canada has committed land, sea and air assets to strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defense posture under Operation Reassurance.

The presence of the Canadian-led eFP Battlegroup is described as "defensive, proportionate and fully in line with NATO’s international commitments," by the Canadian government.

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