|Prime Minister of Latvia Andris Berzins meets Secretary General of NATO George Robertson in Brussels.|
A regular meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Euroatlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) takes place in Brussels. Maris Riekstins, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the head of the Latvian delegation at the meeting and speaks at the plenary session. In the course of the meeting the Secretary General of NATO Lord Robertson asserts the readiness of the Alliance to continue the enlargement process and calls on the candidate countries to proceed with the implementation of the Membership Action Plan. Ten NATO candidate countries represented at the meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Brussels, Latvia among them, adopt a joint statement denouncing terrorism and expressing the commitment of these countries to co-operate within the international anti-terrorist coalition.
Before the plenary session the heads of the delegations of the ten NATO candidate countries meet the US Secretary of State Colin Powell. The US Secretary of State thanks the candidate countries for their supporting America in the fight against terrorism and reconfirms the strong US support of further advance of NATO enlargement process.
Statement by Vilnius group:
|6 December||The Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Peteris Elferts meets the State Secretary of the Ministry of Defence of Norway Gunnar Helle. The State Secretary, being representative of the new Norwegian government, has arrived on a get-acquainted visit to the Baltic States. G.Helle asserts Norway's firm support of the admission of Latvia to NATO in 2002. The Norwegian official congratulates Latvia on the considerable economic growth and progress in the reforming of the defence system that, according to the State Secretary, inspire confidence in Latvia's readiness to assume the responsibilities of a NATO member country in the year 2002.|
|5 December||The Minister of Defence Girts Valdis Kristovskis meets the Military Representative of the United Kingdom to NATO General-Lieutenant Kevin O'Donaghue.|
|4 December||A meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Vilnius group takes place in Bucharest, Romania, within the framework of the session of the Council of Ministers of OSCE. The participants of the meeting note that the candidate countries have achieved outstanding progress and already analyse the duties to be assumed upon the accession to NATO. The Ministers remark on the steadily growing positive attitude towards the enlargement of NATO and underline that a maximum number of candidates should be invited at Prague summit.|
|3 December||The State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia Maris Riekstins meets the Minister of Defence of Finland Jan-Erik Enestam who has arrived in Latvia on a working visit. In the course of the meeting the topical issues related to the European security policy, including the enlargement of NATO, are discussed. The Minister of Defence of Finland reconfirms his country's position that the membership of the Baltic States in NATO would positively influence the security situation of the Baltic Sea region and that the admission of all three Baltic States at the upcoming summit of the Alliance in Prague is the best option.|
|30 November - 1 December||The Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Peteris Elferts takes part in the annual international symposium organised by the Association of Atlantic and European Co-operation of Greece and speaks at the round-table discussion on the enlargement of NATO.|
|30 November||Political consultations of the State Secretaries of the Danish and Baltic Ministries of Foreign Affairs take place in Vilnius. Topical issues related to the enlargement processes of the EU and NATO are in the focus of the meeting. The State Secretaries also exchange views on the current security situation in the world in the light of fight against international terrorism.|
|28 November||The Minister of Foreign Affairs Indulis Berzins meets the Commandant of NATO Defence College in Rome General-Lieutenant Hartmut Olboeter (German Air Forces). The discussion focuses on the integration into NATO and EU and on co-operation between Russia and NATO. Together with the Commandant a group of senior officers from NATO Defence College visit Latvia.|
|20 November||A meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Interior of the EU + 15 takes place in Brussels in the framework of the political dialogue on European security and defence policy (ESDP). Latvia is represented at the meeting by the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maris Riekstins, the Minister of Defence G.V. Kristovskis and Ambassador A. Piebalgs. In the course of the meeting the member countries of the European Union report on the development of the European Security and Defence policy (ESDP) in 2001.|
|19-21 November||The Sub-Commitee on Central and Eastern Europe of the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO is holding a workshop in the Saeima. The goal of the visit is to study the progress of Latvia from the perspective of her integration into European and Transatlantic structures. On the basis of the findings the Sub-Commitee will prepare a report on candidate countries and on the basis of this report a declaration on NATO enlargement. A declaration will be drafted for adoption at the spring session of the Assembly as a recommendation to the governments of the member countries as they will decide on the enlargement of NATO. The Sub-Commitee on Central and Eastern Europe of the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO positively values Latvia's performance in the preparation for integration into NATO and expresses hope that all three Baltic States will be invited to the accession negotiations with the Alliance already at Prague Summit in 2002.|
Latvia-NATO meeting on Latvia's NATO Membership Action Plan 2002 takes place in NATO Headquarters in Brussels. The Latvian delegation is led by the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr Maris Riekstins. Several NATO countries note public support to NATO enlargement in Latvia. Latvia gaines praises for contribution to peacekeeping operations in the Balkans. The USA thankes Latvia for moral and practical support in the fight against international terrorism. U.S. representative underscores that the USA will continue to support extensive enlargement of NATO at the Prague Summit next year. NATO countries emphasise that the 11 September terrorist attacks in the USA would only promote admission of new members to the Alliance. The member states appreciate Latvia's contribution to consolidation of regional security and to improvement of the relations with Russia, particularly noting Latvia's persistence and skilful diplomacy in this regard.
In the framework of the visit the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maris Riekstins meet the U.S. Ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns and NATO Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs Dr Guenther Altenburg. The officials discusse topical international policy issues and Latvia's progress towards NATO.
Heads of the governments of Vilnius group countries gather in Sofia at the meeting "The Contribution of New Democracies to Euro-Atlantic Security". NATO candidate countries express their support to establishing a common and free Europe and are committed to support the U.S. headed coalition in combating terrorism. The countries of Vilnius group repeatedly express their hope that in Prague Summit of NATO in 2002 a historic decision will be taken to enlarge the Alliance. The candidate countries confirm their readiness to make their contribution towards establishing secure Europe. The President of the Republic of Latvia V.V.Freiberga delivered a speech at the meeting and emphasised that "the development of Latvia is based on respect for freedom, democracy, sovereignty of a state, and the development of NATO is based on the same values". The President of the United States G.Bush had sent a message to the participants of the event where he stated that "the Alliance is ready to take a historic decision in Prague with regard to NATO enlargement".
The annual assembly of the Atlantic Treaty Association, a meeting of the Vilnius Group Foreign Ministers takes place. During meeting the co-operation and action of the allies and partner countries after the terrorist attacks on the USA and further enlargement of the Alliance were discussed.
|28 September||Latvia's Ambassador to NATO Imants Liegis submit to NATO Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs Gunther Altenburg Latvian Annual National Program 2002 for NATO membership and the Semi-annual Report on Implementation of the National Program 2002. The submission of the Program has started the last full cycle in Latvia's preparations for NATO membership before Prague Summit at the end of 2002. Having started together with NATO a joint review of the structure of Latvia's Armed Forces, Latvia will continue it's work to achieve mutual compatibility with NATO, emphasising the support to the host country, and to improve the combat readiness of the Armed Forces to face the threats of the 21st century.|
|20 September||Security policy consultations between the representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and the Ministries of Defence of Latvia and Hungary take place in Riga. Major subject of the consultations is NATO enlargement related issues and the possibilities of Latvia getting the invitation to NATO at Prague Summit. Hungarian side positively assesses the chances of the Baltic countries to receive the invitation in Prague to join NATO.|
|19 September||Security policy consultations between the representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and the Ministries of Defence of Latvia and the United Kingdom take place in Riga. The items discussed are NATO enlargement, Membership Action Plan (MAP) 2002, CESDP and Russia. In comparison with the previous consultations the attitude of the United Kingdom to Latvia as a potential NATO member country has considerably improved.|
|18 September||Meeting of the Presidents of the Baltic countries, Poland and Finland takes place in Tallinn. The Presidents unanimously condemn the events of terrorism in the United States and express their condolences to the relatives of the deceased and the injured. The President of Poland Alexander Kvasnevskij confirms the opinion of Poland that the Baltic countries should be accepted in NATO in the autumn of 2002.|
|12-13 September||Consultations on MAP 2002 between Latvia - Germany take place in Riga. German representatives evaluate Latvia's MAP as a professionally and well drafted plan. German side suggests that in further negotiations with NATO Latvia should more actively emphasise Latvia's achievements in a wide spectrum of issues, e.g., by paying additional attention to public information campaign. With regard to the internal political discussion in Germany concerning NATO it has been emphasised that German Parliament will start this discussion in November this year and the Government will formulate its opinion at the beginning of next year. It is stressed that Germany will support as much as possible Latvia's attempts of NATO integration.|
|4-5 September||Consultations on MAP 2002 and security policy issues between Latvia - France take place in Paris. French side demonstrate deep intereste in general development of Latvia as well as the development of the defence sector.|
|3 September||Consultations between Latvia - the United Kingdom take place in London. The U.K. representatives are satisfied with the course of NATO enlargement debate and they demonstrate interest in the structure of Latvia's National Armed Forces and military development plans. The U.K. experts remark that correct development of NATO processes is of great importance and the significance of MAP should not be underestimated.|
|2-4 September||The Ambassadors of Benelux countries to NATO visit Latvia - the Ambassador of Belgium Baron Thierry de Gruben, the Ambassador of Luxembourg Jean Jack Kassel and the Ambassador of the Netherlands Nicolass Hendrik Bigman. The Ambassadors visit Latvia with an objective to gain an impression about Latvia's NATO integration process, as well as to meet with state officials and representatives of the public. The Ambassadors positively assess general development of Latvia, also express their support to Latvia's attempts to join NATO. The Ambassadors suggest that attention should be paid to public integration issues since these issues will have an essential role when Latvia's readiness for integration into NATO will be evaluated.|
|31 August||Consultations on MAP 2002 between Latvia - Poland take place in Warsaw. Polish side admits that the plan has been very well drafted and Latvia has taken into consideration the suggestions made last year, and has gained knowledge from NATO meetings.|
|29-30 August||Consultation on MAP 2002 with Denmark and Norway respectively are taking place. During the consultations the parties discuss the contents of the plan and the activities planned for 2002. The representatives of NATO countries highly evaluate the MAP 2002 and admit that it is even better than the previous plan.|
|25-26 August||Prominent U.S. Senators Richard G.Lugar and John McCain visit Latvia. During the visit the U.S. representatives meet with the highest state officials. In the conversation with the State President Vaira Vike Freiberga R.Lugar expresses full support to Latvia's attempts to receive the invitation to NATO in 2002. The Senator remarks the progress in all spheres: development of democracy, strengthening the market economy and establishment of the judicial system. J.McCain admits that the development of Latvia is impressive if compared to the situation observed during the previous visit in 1993.|
|17 August||Consultations of the representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence of the Baltic countries take place in Riga. The topic of the meeting - drafting the Membership Action Plan (MAP) 2002 which starts the third and the final cycle of practical preparations before NATO Summit in Prague in 2002. The parties discuss the contents of the plans prepared, the activities planned for 2002 and the defence budget, share their experience in drafting the plan and agree to exchange the plans in the nearest future once the plans are complete. The sections of the plans regarding joint military co-operation of the Baltic countries will be co-ordinated separately to ensure consistent disclosure in all plans.|
|6 August||Former Assistant State Secretary of the U.S., representative of the non-governmental NATO Committee Ronald Asmuss visits Latvia. During the visit the guest meets with the highest state officials, including the President of the State Vaira Vike Freiberga. In the conversation with the President R.Asmuss discusses Latvia's attempts to join NATO, as well as the debates in the U.S. and the Baltic countries about NATO enlargement process. V.Vike-Freiberga and R.Asmuss share the opinion that the Baltic countries becoming members of NATO would be a contribution towards European security and stability and would not draw new dividing lines. R.Asmuss positively assesses Latvia's achievements in the field of economic growth and public integration.|
|17 July||The Commander of French Armed Forces General Jean-Pierre Kelche visits Latvia. During the visit the General meets with the Prime Minister Andris Berzins, the Chairman of the Saeima (Parliament) Defence and Internal Affairs Committee Dzintars Kudums, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Indulis Berzins, and the Minister of Defence Girts Valdis Kristovskis. In the conversation with the Minster of Foreign Affairs the dominant issue is the nature of European security structure.|
|11 July||The Commander of NATO North Region Armed Forces General Jack Dverell visits Latvia. The General positively evaluates Latvia's commitment to allocate 1.75% of the GDP in 2002 for the needs of national defence. The General also appreciates Baltic military co-operation projects. J.Dverell visits 1st Infantry Battalion of the Ground Troops and the battalion of peace keeping forces of the Baltic countries (BALTBAT), as well as the ships of the Joint Squadron of Battle Ships of the Marine Forces of the Baltic countries (BALTRON) in Riga Passenger Port.|
Meeting of NATO candidate countries, jointly organised by Latvia and Estonia, takes place in Tallinn. Participants of the meeting are the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vilnius group countries. At the meeting they discuss the development of NATO enlargement process since the previous meeting in Vilnius, also look at future co-operation opportunities in NATO enlargement process until Prague Summit in 2002. At the end of the discussion a joint statement is approved in which the Ministers express their satisfaction with the commitment of the Alliance to enlarge the organisation in the year 2002. The Ministers also agree to organise a meeting at Prime Ministers' level in February / March 2002 in Bucharest, Romania, and to organise a high level meeting in June / July 2002 in Riga.
|28-30 June||The Ambassador of Portugal to NATO Fernando Andersen-Guimaraes visits Latvia. The guest acquaints himself with the key political and economic issues in Latvia, also with the accomplishments in defence field on the way to NATO. The Ambassador admits that Latvia successfully performs its homework and its progress is good. On 29th June 2001 the Ambassador of Portugal together with Latvia's Ambassador to NATO Imants Liegis takes part in the seminar "Latvia a NATO Country - Dream or Reality", organised by LATO, where a brochure with a similar title by I.Liegis about NATO in the Russian language is presented.|
|28 June||Supreme Allied Commander of Europe of NATO, the U.S. Air Force General Josef W.Ralston visits Latvia and meets with the highest state officials, also acquaints himself with the development of Latvia's defence system and preparations for NATO membership. The Supreme Allied Commander of Europe positively assesses Latvia's MAP and thanks Latvia for the contribution of the peace keeping units of the armed forces to peace process in the Balkans.|
Meeting of the Commanders of the Armed Forces of NATO candidate countries takes place in Riga. The joint statement of the commanders approved at the end of the meeting emphasises the significance of the Membership Action Plan (MAP) in preparations for NATO membership, also positively assesses military co-operation of the Baltic countries.
|31 May - 1 June||A group of NATO Parliamentary Assembly (PA) members from Iceland, Norway, Poland and Germany visit Latvia. They meet with the Deputy Chairman of the Saeima Rihards Piks, Prime Minister Andris Berzins, Minister of Foreign Affairs Indulis Berzins, and the Chairman of Latvia's Delegation to NATO PA Aleksandrs Kirsteins and the Chairman of the Saeima Defence and Internal Affairs Committee Dzintars Kudums. NATO PA members express their full support to all three Baltic countries becoming members of NATO in 2002. The key issues of debate are Latvia's practical readiness for NATO membership, national minorities and Russia.|
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Indulis Berzins takes part in the meeting of Euro Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) in Budapest, Hungary. Issues discussed at the meeting include co-operation in the Euro-Atlantic space and the situation in the Balkans.
|29-30 May||President of the U.S. NATO Committee Bruce Jackson visits Riga and has appointments with the highest state officials (President of the State V.V.Freiberga, Saeima representatives, Prime Minister Andris Berzins, NATO Integration Council, Minister of Defence Girts Valdis Kristovskis, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs M.Riekstins) and representatives of public organisations - LATO, representative of Riga Jewish Community G.Krupnikovs, Head of the Latvian Institute O.Kalnins and others.|
|28-31 May||NATO Parliamentary Assembly (PA) session takes place in Vilnius, where the representatives of NATO countries and associated NATO countries (including Latvia) approve a declaration on NATO enlargement and a declaration on the situation in the Balkans. The declaration on NATO enlargement expresses support to inviting new countries in the year 2002. Secretary General of NATO George Robertson addresses the participants of NATO Parliamentary Assembly (PA) session. G.Robertson emphasises that all candidate countries have to work hard until the meeting of the heads of NATO countries in Prague in 2002.|
|27 May||Four U.S. Senators visit Riga and meet with the President of the State Vaira Vike Freiberga; accompanied by the Prime Minister Andris Berzins they visit BALTBAT centre in Adazi and look at the infrastructure and the equipment of BALTBAT unit. The Senators have an opportunity to watch a demonstration of the troops - platoon attack with artillery support, positively assessed by the Senators.|
Conference of 9 Prime Ministers of NATO candidate countries "Europe's New Democracies: Leadership and Responsibility" takes place in Bratislava, Slovakia. The conference is a proof to the efforts of the candidate countries to co-ordinate their co-operation on the way to NATO membership; NATO enlargement becomes a topical issue in the capital cities of NATO candidate countries. The U.S. president G.Bush and several influential U.S. Senators (L.Tot and G.Helmss) express support to the conference, emphasising that the Alliance remains open to the new democracies of Europe. President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel in his speech strongly supports the Baltic countries and requests them to be allowed to the Alliance in 2002. President of the Czech republic stresses that "if no new candidate countries were invited in 2002, that would contradict the "open doors" principle.""
The remarks by Prime Minister of Latvia A.Berzins:
Statement by U.S. President George W.Bush:
Speech by the President of Czech Republic V.Havel:
|23 April||Annual meeting between Latvia and the North Atlantic Council takes place in NATO Headquarters in Brussels. Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia A.Berzins and the Minister of Defence G.V.Kristovskis meet with the Ambassadors of 19 NATO countries in order to discuss Latvia's accomplishments in implementation of the Membership Action Plan (MAP). Latvian officials meet with Secretary General of NATO George Robertson.|
|23 April||Meeting of the political directors of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of "Vilnius 9" countries and also Croatia takes place in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The participants start preparing the draft of the statement of the meeting of "Vilnius 9" (plus Croatia) Prime Ministers to be held on 10-11 May 2001 in Bratislava, Slovakia. They discuss also further co-operation perspectives for NATO candidate countries. Latvian side informs the participants of the meeting about the meeting of the commanders of armed forces to be held in Riga on 4-6 June 2001.|
|9-10 April||Regular security policy consultations between Latvia - Germany take place in Berlin. The consultations demonstrate that the official position of Germany with regard to NATO enlargement has not been formulated yet.|
|5 April||The Minister of Foreign Affairs Indulis Berzins meets with NATO Assistant Secretary General Klaus-Peter Klaiber who visits Latvia to chair the annual meeting of the group NATO Atlantic policy advisers.|
|12 March||Meeting of Latvia - NATO Political and Military Committee (PMSC) in NATO Headquarters in Brussels, where the evaluation of Latvia's defence system, resulting from the visit of NATO experts to Latvia in February 2001, is reviewed. Strengthening of Latvia's defence capacity is highly evaluated at the meeting. NATO points out the necessity to improve combat capacity and readiness of the National Armed Forces of Latvia, strengthen staff management and training system, achieve the anticipated growth of the defence budget, increase the amount of investments in infrastructure of the National Armed Forces and purchasing equipment.|
|7 March||Security policy consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Latvia and Norway take place in Riga. Issues discussed at the consultations include NATO enlargement process and MAP, Common European Security and Defence Policy (CESDP), Keel initiative and CFE agreement is also touched upon.|
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia I.Berzins takes part in the 37th Munich Conference on Security Policy in Munich. Owing to its long-standing tradition of more than thirty years, as well as to the fact that it is composed of officials of the highest political level, and taking into consideration the topics on the agenda, the Munich Conference ranks among the most prominent events of this type.