On 1 April, the Foreign Minister of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs took part in the Meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Brussels. The ministers agreed on reinforcing NATO’s collective defence, providing support for Ukraine, suspending all civilian and military cooperation with Russia, and discussed the preparation for the Wales Summit in the U.K. on 4-5 September.
Minister Rinkēvičs accentuated that the annexation of Crimea by Russia leaves a negative impact on security of the entire Europe, for which NATO continues playing a decisive role. The minister expressed satisfaction with the enhancement of the Baltic airspace patrolling and protection of the Baltic Sea aquatorium by NATO. “There should be appropriate NATO presence in all the Baltic states,” emphasised the Foreign Minister of Latvia, while recalling the commitments of the country to increase its defence budget. The minister called for closer cooperation with partner countries such as Finland and Sweden in order to strengthen common security in the Baltic Sea Region.
During the meeting, in an official ceremony, NATO Foreign Ministers marked the anniversaries of the last three Alliance enlargement rounds, which have significantly expanded the area of peace, security and democracy in Europe.
In a discussion on the situation in Ukraine, Edgars Rinkēvičs reiterated support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and also supported the intensifying of NATO-Ukraine cooperation.
NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting continues on 2 April, when the focus will be placed on cooperation with Georgia and the countries of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, and on an ISAF format discussion concerning Afghanistan.