Latvia wants NATO Madrid summit to approve Baltic missile defense systems

Because of the obvious threat posed by Russia, firm and concrete decisions must be taken at the NATO Summit in Madrid concerning the strengthening of security in the eastern flank, Latvia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, said at an informal meeting of NATO ministers in Berlin, on May 14-15, 2022.

According to a summary of the meeting published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Rinkēvičs said that Russia was causing an existential threat to security in the Euro-Atlantic space.

"A more robust presence of NATO allied forces is needed in each of the Baltic States, which would include reinforcement with anti-aircraft and missile defense systems and other capabilities critically lacking in the region," Rinkēvičs was quoted as saying.

Rinkēvičs said that the threat posed by Russia could not be expected to decrease in coming years. Therefore, it was important for NATO’s long-term deterrence and defence to be adapted to the new strategic reality and current security challenges.

The informal meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Berlin was convened to discuss the relationship of Finland and Sweden with NATO, support for Ukraine, and the strengthening the Alliance’s deterrence and defence. The Ministers also exchanged views on preparations for the NATO Summit and on the Strategic Concept of the Alliance.

As concerns the work ahead of the Meeting of NATO Heads of State and Government to be held in Madrid from 28 to 30 June 2022, Rinkēvičs expressed he view that further efforts should be made to increase member states’ defense expenditure.

"It is important for Latvia that the upcoming NATO Strategic Concept reflect the current security environment, its challenges and threats realistically and without illusions. In Latvia’s opinion, the concept should outline the elements such as Russia’s threat to the Alliance in the long-term, a focus on collective security as NATO’s principal mission, the Alliance’s further political and military adaptation, transatlantic unity, challenges created by new technologies, cooperation between NATO and the EU, and commitment to an open-door policy. It is in Latvia’s interests for the Strategic Concept to clearly point out that the defense of the region’s territory and deterring Russia calls for fundamental changes in NATO’s deterrence and defense posture," the MFA statemet said.

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