RIGA - A delegation of the United States Congressional Staff that visited Latvia from October 21 to 24 thanked Latvia for its leadership in assistance to Ukraine in both bilateral and multilateral format and reaffirmed the unwavering support from the US in the security sector, LETA was told at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The ministry informed that during their stay, the US congressional staff were introduced to the security situation in the region, visited a National Armed Forces’ military base in Lielvarde, where they met with US soldiers stationed in Latvia, and had a discussion with Latvian public officials on the bilateral cooperation between Latvia and the United States and on Russia’s hostilities in Ukraine.
During a meeting with congressional staffers, Foreign Ministry State Secretary Andris Pelss commended the excellent bilateral relations between Latvia and the United States and the strong transatlantic unity, which is of special importance in the current geopolitical situation.
As part of the visit, the US delegation met with Janis Kazocins, National Security Adviser to the President of Latvia; Ginta Brumane-Gromula, Director of the Defense Policy Department at the Ministry of Defense; Janis Sarts, Director of the Riga-based NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, as well as with Atis Lejins and Krists Baumanis, members of the Saeima Foreign Affairs Committee.
The delegation also had the opportunity to attend the Riga Conference and watch the manufacturing of unmanned aerial vehicles in a Latvian company, Edge Autonomy.
The visit of the congressional staff was arranged as part of a broader Baltic states program. Visits of that kind to the Baltic States have been taking place on a regular basis since 2013. They help the United States Congress to explore the security situation in the Baltic region and to understand what is required for the strengthening of the Baltic States’ security.
Each year, the United States Congress makes an assessment of, and assigns funding for the development of the Baltic states’ defense sector under the Baltic Security Initiative. In 2022, the Congress approved USD 180 million in defense assistance to the Baltic states to bolster their capabilities. In addition to annual support, the US government will also provide Latvia with an estimated USD 200 million in security assistance and security cooperation funding in Fiscal Year 2022, including over USD 145 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) to strengthen Latvian security and military interoperability. Through the Foreign Military Financing program, Latvia is able to enhance its defense and deterrence capabilities.