On 1 August, the State Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Andrejs Pildegovičs, met with a delegation led by the United States Congressman Joe Wilson to discuss strategic partnership between Latvia and the U.S. in security and defence, transatlantic relations, and matters related to regional security.
In the course of the conversation, Andrejs Pildegovičs emphasised the important role of support from the U.S. Administration and Congress for Latvia’s security interests and called on the U.S. to sustain its military presence in Latvia. State Secretary Pildegovičs reaffirmed that Latvia for its part is prepared to provide its contribution to the strengthening of security by ensuring an increase in the defence budget to 2% of GDP in 2018.
U.S. congressmen affirmed their unwavering commitment to Latvia’s security. The same message, in very clear and direct terms, was sent to the Baltic States by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in his meeting with the Presidents of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in Tallinn on 31 July. U.S. congressmen appreciated what Latvia has accomplished in its national development, which opens good opportunities for Latvia to share this valuable experience with countries that have just embarked on the path to reform. Andrejs Pildegovičs called on the United States Congress to continue supporting development cooperation programmes with the Eastern Partnership and Central Asian countries. Latvia is interested in taking forward the ongoing successful partnership with the U.S. in cooperation for development.
The State Secretary and the U.S. congressmen also discussed how Latvia and the U.S. can cooperate on the prevention of hybrid threat, in the energy security, and enhancing economic cooperation and trade contacts.
The delegation from the Readiness Subcommittee of the United States House Committee on Armed Services including Joe Wilson, Madeleine Bordallo, Paul Cook, John Garamendi, and Jackie Walorski had arrived in Latvia on 1 August as part of a regional visit. The congressmen had meetings with the Speaker and Members of the Saeima (the Latvian Parliament) and the Minister of Defence. The delegation also visited a military base at Lielvārde.
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