Latvia signs up to Joint Expeditionary Force

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Latvia and other six countries have signed an agreement to create the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) comprising armed units from seven NATO member states for swift and coordinate response to modern threats, the Latvian Defense Ministry said.

The UK, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and the Netherlands signed the Memorandum of Understanding on foundation of the JEF in London on Monday.

Janis Garisons, State Secretary of the Latvian Defense Ministry, who signed the document on behalf of Latvia, said that pooling capacities and improving compatibility of armed forces was vital in view of the modern security challenges. This British initiative demonstrates its willingness to strengthen security in the Baltic-Nordic region together, he said.

With the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, serious work will begin to have the JEF fully operational by 2018.

The JEF will be a rapid response force created from armed units from seven NATO member states that would incorporate ground troops as well as air and naval units. It would be capable of conducting prompt military operations to defend member states, but also respond to natural disasters and humanitarian crises.

The UK, which came up with the idea, has invited Estonia, Denmark, Norway, Latvia, Lithuania and the Netherlands, or countries that are united by good experience from international military operations earlier, to join it.

The aim is to create a fully functioning, division-sized force for rapid deployment and regular, frequent exercises. The force will incorporate air and naval units as well as ground troops and will be led by British commanders, with other participating nations contributing a range of specialist troops and units.

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