RIGA - On March 29-30, Vilnius hosted a meeting of the State Secretaries of the Baltic and Nordic countries (NB8), at which Latvia was represented by the Deputy State Secretary for European Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Astra Kurme, LETA learned from the ministry.
The discussions during the meeting mainly focused on security issues in the region in view of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Cooperation between NB8 countries in international organizations, especially the United Nations, was also discussed. The agenda included regional energy-related issues and the strengthening of the transatlantic link. Views were also exchanged on China and the Indo-Pacific region.
Deputy State Secretary Astra Kurme underlined that Latvia strongly condemned Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, and she emphasized that Belarus bore its share of responsibility for the invasion. The international community must continue to put pressure on the aggressor state with economic sanctions, other restrictive measures and international isolation, the Deputy State Secretary said. She noted that, at the same time, Ukraine must be supported by political, military and financial means and by providing humanitarian assistance.
The participants were unanimous about the need for a closer-coordinated cooperation between NB8 countries on regional security and defense. The transatlantic link and NATO’s presence also has a vital role to play since it affects stability in the region and presents a powerful security safeguard and means of deterrence. In the security context, views were further exchanged on stopping the region’s dependence on energy supplies from Russia.
The NB8 format comprises Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden. In 2022, Lithuania has the lead role in coordination of NB8 cooperation, having set the following priorities: first, a more secure, safe, and resilient Baltic and Nordic region; second, a sustainable, green, and interconnected region; and third, a hub of socially cohesive societies, champions of democracy and human rights.
Latvian will take over the coordinator’s role in NB8 cooperation in 2023.