Foreign military bases not to be located in Latvia

  • 2001-10-11
  • BNS
RIGA - Attempting to pre-empt protests, Latvian Prime Minister Andris Berzins on Oct. 3 told reporters that new regulations concerning visits by foreign war ships don't allow the establishment of military bases by NATO or other countries.

The legislation approved by the government on Oct. 2 clarifies procedures by which nuclear powered or armed vessels may enter Latvian waters.

President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, also addressing reporters after meeting Berzins, said the regulations did not amount to the deployment of nuclear weapons in Latvia.

It would be Parliament's job to decide on such a deployment if the question arose, she said. In the meantime NATO had shown no interest in locating military bases in Latvia, she said.

"There are no nuclear weapons in Latvia and people have nothing to worry about," said Berzins. "There will never be bases here, they are not being planned and have never been discussed. The possibility that such ships would even come here is low."

Under the regulations the defense minister may allow foreign war ships to enter Latvia after notification has also been given to the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment Protection.

The amendments are part of Latvia's efforts to gain an invitation to join NATO at the alliance's summit in Prague in November 2002.