Latvia and Romania must together strengthen NATO's eastern bastion - Smiltens

  • 2023-03-20
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Latvia and Romania must work together to implement the decisions of the NATO summit in Madrid by bolstering defense and deterrence capabilities on NATO's eastern flank, Saeima Speaker Edvards Smiltens (United List) said while meeting with Romania's top state officials in Bucharest on Monday. 

The Latvian delegation led by the Saeima speaker met with Ion-Marcel Ciolacu, President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of Romania, Alina Stefania Gorghiu, the President ad interim of the Senate, and Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca. 

Smiltens thanked Romania for its contribution to the region's security, including the decision to resume participation in the NATO-led airspace policing in the Baltics, as well as involvement in NATO's enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Poland. 

While discussing Russia's aggression in Ukraine, Smiltens stressed the necessity to keep supporting Ukraine as much as possible. The overwhelming support for US resolutions on the conflict is an indication of firm international denouncement of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, Smiltens said, adding that the next turning point will be ensuring international support for calling Russia to account. 

Turning attention to bilateral relations, Smiltens said that Romania's decision to open an embassy in Riga would give a significant impulse to the two countries' cooperation. Direct flights between Riga and Bucharest, which from May this year will be operated by Latvia's national carrier airBaltic, will provide new opportunities to people in both countries.

Smiltens also noted cooperation opportunities in areas like bio-economy and bio-medicine, pharmaceutics, smart technologies and ICT. 

The Saeima speaker also expressed support for Romania's accession to the Schengen Area and efforts to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).