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Urbanovics promotes joint Baltic military procurement

May 21, 2014
Staff and wire reports, RIGA

There is no better security guarantee for Latvia than NATO; therefore, measures should be taken in order to reduce residents' skepticism toward this organization, leader of Harmony Center's Saeima group Janis Urbanovics said in an interview on Latvian Television show "Rita panorama" on May 21, reports LETA.

Resident skepticism, whether by ethnic Russian speakers or Latvian, is indeed odd, and dangerous, as NATO membership provides one level of security to deter against the possibility of Russian interference, as is currently seen in Ukraine, providing safe and civil society for all. Without NATO, the threat of Russian military aggression becomes much higher in Latvia, and Russian bullets and bombs won’t distinguish between nationalities.

Urbanovics proposed that Latvia organize joint procurement of military materials with the other Baltic States, and possibly with Scandinavia, for the armed forces' needs. "I would dare to propose that even those payments of 2 percent of gross domestic product [for defense] should be made jointly and joint procurement tenders should be organized," Urbanovics said.

He explained that in this way military procurement would be more transparent, understandable, and comply with NATO standards, furthermore, the risk of corruption would decrease.

The ruling coalition has agreed that the NATO force presence in Latvia is essential. It is important that an "anti-NATO" mood does not emerge in Latvia, Minister of Interior Rihards Kozlovskis said.

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