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Lembergs demands apology from Rasmussen

May 15, 2014
from wire reports, RIGA

Lembergs demands apology from Rasmussen
Photo: Baltic Reports

Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs (For Latvia and Ventspils) sent a letter to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen yesterday, urging him "to apologize to Latvia and the City of Ventspils" for NATO soldiers' disgraceful behavior in Ventspils last weekend.

Lembergs' letter has been sent to not only Rasmussen but also to Foreign minister Edgars Rinkevics (Reform Party) and Defense Minister Raimonds Vejonis (Greens/Farmers). In the letter, Lembergs also says the Ventspils City Council fears that visits by NATO ships may pose threat to the general public.

Taking into consideration the conduct of the military, and that the ships moored in the Port of Ventspils are armed warships, "it is impossible to predict what threat the military with such armament could pose to the local residents - if they get drunk to such a degree that they cannot control their actions," says the letter.

Lembergs' letter asks that such NATO soldiers whose behavior does not meet the generally-accepted norms and who have no respect for the State of Latvia, the country's laws and nation, should rid the City of Ventspils of their presence.

As reported, reported, navy sailors participating in the "Open Spirit 2014" international minesweeping exercise were involved in several incidents in Ventspils over the weekend; one from the Netherlands had particularly bad luck - he is currently in Northern Kurzeme Regional Hospital's intensive care unit with a serious head injury.

The man, 21, was taken to the hospital by ambulance early Sunday morning. He suffered a serious head injury, several fractures and cerebral edema, LETA learned from the hospital. The young man was unconscious and was placed in the hospital's intensive care unit, his condition is currently listed as stable.

The sailor is believed to have been involved in a fight outside a nightclub in Ventspils. A few more NATO sailors sought medical assistance last weekend following similar incidents, despite having been warned not to visit night clubs in Ventspils. The other sailors had sustained minor injuries and did not need to be hospitalized.

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