On the eve of the NATO Summit, Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks met with the Head of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar. Mr Pabriks emphasized NATO's role in securing international security, and expressed gratitude for U.S. assistance in strengthening Latvia's defence capability.
Minister Pabriks emphasized that NATO is the most efficient organization capable of facing the threats of the 21st century, and is also the bastion of Latvia's independence.
Senator Lugar expressed his appreciation of Latvia's contribution to international military operations, and praised Latvia's development and economic growth. He noted that Latvia's progress is a shining example of the successful development of democracy, and the decision to choose Riga as the venue for the NATO Summit has been justified.
The Latvian Foreign Minister sought the senator's support for expediting the establishment of a visa-free regime with the United States, and for Latvia's membership in the OECD.
Both officials also considered the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Senator Lugar expressed his interest in Latvia's position on the security of energy supply, and also addressed the issue of compensation to the Jewish community. Mr Lugar also expressed his appreciation of the process of societal integration in Latvia.
Senator Lugar is visiting Riga as part of the NATO Summit. During her visit to Washington on 1 March of this year, the President of Latvia, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, awarded the Senator the Order of the Three Stars in recognition of his support for Latvia's participation in NATO.
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