On 5-6 December, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs took part in the NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting in Brussels, which made preparations for the next year’s NATO summit and discussed NATO-EU cooperation, Russia and the region’s security, and relationship between NATO member states.
In his remarks, Edgars Rinkēvičs noted that cooperation between NATO and the EU is one of Latvia’s priorities in security and defence, and stressed the need for enhancing those contacts. The Minister welcomed the successful cooperation in information exchange, the fight against hybrid threat, and coordinating training and exercises. The promotion of cross-border military mobility is also highly important for Latvia. One of key outcomes of cooperation between NATO and the EU is the establishment of the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, bringing together experts from the EU and NATO member states to jointly fight hybrid threats, said Edgars Rinkēvičs.
The Minister also added that the accession of many EU Member States to the Permanent Structured Cooperation on security and defence (PESCO) will act as a strong stimulus to increasing the EU’s capabilities. It is vital for the EU and NATO to coordinate their efforts in this context.
Edgars Rinkēvičs called for a continued consistent NATO policy on Russia, concurrently applying deterrence and dialogue. Practical cooperation cannot be resumed before Russia’s aggression in Russia has not ended. Minister Rinkēvičs took part the meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission and urged Georgia to move ahead with its reform process, strengthening in particular the rule of law and independence of the judiciary, The reforms launched will help the country on its path to the EU and NATO. The Minister called on NATO and Georgia to reinforce their cooperation in the fight against hybrid threats, in cyber issues and strategic communications.
In the margins of the NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting, Edgars Rinkēvičs also met with the Foreign Minister of Canada, Chrystia Freeland, and thanked her for Canada’s contribution to the security of Latvia and the presence of Canadian troops in Latvia. The Ministers commended the good bilateral relations and the opportunity to strengthen the political dialogue. They also discussed recent developments in NATO, the EU, Russia, and the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries.
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