RIGA - On Thursday, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics took part in a videoconference of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs to discuss the steps taken by NATO Allies in providing mutual support for countering COVID-19.
The Ministers appreciated the measures put in place to date, including air traffic support and deliveries of equipment, which demonstrates the Allied solidarity. At the same time, a commitment was made to implement an even more active coordination using NATO mechanisms, LETA was informed by the Foreign Ministry.
The ministers were unanimous that the Alliance should continue to fulfill its basic mission – to ensure that its collective defense and deterrence posture is credible. Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Gen. Tod D. Walters, informed the ministers that regardless of precautionary measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Alliance’s forces retain their preparedness to ensure a rapid and effective response to any challenge.
The continuity of the process of NATO political decision making is also being ensured in order to strengthen security both in the eastern and southern direction. During the meeting, the foreign ministers adopted important decisions on a broader involvement of the Allies in the fight against international terrorism, including through providing support for Iraqi forces in combating ISIL. It was decided on new measures to facilitate cooperation with the Alliance’s partners – Ukraine and Georgia – and a reflection process was launched, in which, with the help of experts nominated by the NATO Secretary General, opinions will be shared on the strengthening of the political dimension of the Alliance.
It should be noted that not only was this the first Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs in the history of the Alliance held in the video-conferencing format but also NATO’s first ministerial level meeting in which the Republic of North Macedonia took part in the status of a full member. The 2nd of April is also significant in the context of Latvia’s membership of NATO: 16 years ago on this date the flag of Latvia was flown over the NATO Headquarters in Brussels.