Stoltenberg and von der Leyen stress unity on security issues in Rīga

Take note – story published 2 years ago

Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš on Sunday, 28 November is meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who arrived together on working visits to Rīga.

The pair were in Vilnius earlier in the day as part of a drive to express support for the EU and NATO member states currently facing a hybrid attack from the Belarus regime, which is trafficking human beings to the borders of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

Stoltenberg will remain in Latvia for several days as part of the NATO foreign ministers' meeting being held November 30-December 1 in Rīga. 

A joint press conference was held late Sunday afternoon in which all three leaders stressed their unity in the face of various current threats (viewable below).


Kariņš said "Such visits at such a time are very significant" and repeated a previously-expressed view that if Russia or Belarus think they can sow division among EU or NATO countries by means of "Very organized and aggressive disinformation campaigns", they will end up having exactly the opposite effect.

In addition Kariņš said Russia's Gazprom needed to fulfil its commercial obligations to EU countries

EC President von der Leyen said additional funding would be made available to secure the border, including electronic equipment and patrol vehicles.

“We stand united with Latvia,” she said, adding that it was time for the European Union to have its own 'Joint Situational Awareness Center'.

"Such a center would help the EU bundle its know-how on countering hybrid attacks," von der Leyen said.

Stoltenberg said the discussions had been "substantive" and condemned the "cynical and inhumane exploitation of vulnerable people which aims to put pressure on neighboring countries."

"We also discussed Russia’s unexplained and unjustified military buildup near Ukraine," Stoltenberg said, and called upon Russia to "de-escalate" the situation.

"NATO remains vigilant. We stand ready to defend all allies," he said, adding that NATO would continue to lend "practical support" to Ukraine

The upcoming discussions among foreign ministers in Rīga “will help to strengthen our alliance in an uncertain world,” Stoltenberg said.

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