RIGA - Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani sees Latvia as an example of democracy and freedom, he said during the current NATO summit in Riga.
After meeting with Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, the former New York mayor told the press that the Riga NATO summit was an "excellent opportunity for the United States and other NATO members to see what Latvia is like and where it is moving."
Giuliani noted that NATO was a key international player in the war against terrorism. The former mayor of New York also voiced admiration about the Latvian capital, saying he saw a "clean and nice city" when arriving in Riga.
Vike-Freiberga expressed joy that Giuliani had accepted the invitation to attend the NATO Riga summit, and added that New York was a great example of a city that has managed to recover and ensure security after the Twin Towers were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.
In her conversation with Giuliani, the Latvian president reiterated Latvia's hopes to see more U.S. investment as well as the lifting of visa requirements for Latvian citizens traveling to the United States.
Vike-Freiberga and Giuliani also discussed current NATO matters and the alliance's peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan.
Giuliani was in Riga to attend the 2006 NATO summit, along with some 1,000 other members of the U.S. delegation.
Speaking at the Young Leaders Forum "Building Bridges for the Next Generation" on Nov. 27, Giuliani said that nothing would "change the United States' goal of spreading democracy," admitting that this process would take a long time.
The former New York mayor emphasized that every individual has a right to democracy. "The problem of our time is that long-term goals are destroyed by short-term emotions," Giuliani told an audience of about 60 international young leaders.
In his speech, Giuliani touched on NATO relations with Russia and said discussions had to be continued on the subject. He also brought up the issue of terrorism, saying that one must use this term carefully.
"We need to understand, that when we say fundamentalist terrorism, which happens to be organized around a perversion of the Islamic religion, we're not talking about all Muslims 's by no means 's what we're talking about is a small perverted group that has selected acts of terrorism as a way of voicing their beliefs," the former mayor said.
The Young Leaders Forum was organized in conjunction with the Riga NATO summit. Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks, who opened the conference, said the topics brought up during the discussion were "not only NATO problems, but also problems of the whole international so-ciety."