Rinkevics does not expect surprises from NATO's decisions about Baltic defense

  • 2022-06-28
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - All the parties concerned have been working on boosting allied presence in the Baltic region already since late February, which means that the upcoming NATO summit in Madrid is unlikely to produce any surprises in that respect, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity) said in an interview with Latvian Television on Tuesday. 

The minister indicated that all decisions have already been prepared in rather complicated negotiations and that no big surprises should be expected at the summit. 

"The preparatory process was scrupulous and not easy, but now, as far as I know, none of the member states has significant objections. It is necessary to wait for the end of the summit, because there have been summits with sudden dramas, but when it comes to the Baltic states' security, there are no longer any disagreements," Rinkevics said. 

The minister said that NATO's current strategic plans have been adopted several years ago and remained useful until Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but as the situation has changed, a necessity arose to revise the Alliance's plans and its military presence in the Baltic states. 

The decisions of the NATO Summit in Madrid are expected to bolster allied presence in the Baltic Sea region, but the decisions will have to be followed by concrete measures, because "you do not wage war with papers", Rinkevics said. The Alliance is expected to set up brigade-level support elements and command structures in the Baltic states, as well as reinforce infrastructure, realizing at the same time that the defense plans and strategies have to be constantly revised in response to current security challenges. 

"After the summit, we will be in a more secure situation, but this does not mean that we will not have to do our own homework, our diplomatic work in response to the changeable security situation," said Rinkevics. 

The Latvian minister also hopes that progress will be made at the summit regarding the admission of Finland and Sweden to the Alliance, which in Rinkevics' view might be the summit's "biggest mystery". Latvia is absolutely interested in these two countries' accession to NATO, he said.

Rinkevics also called on people not to worry about Russia's reactions to NATO's decisions because what Russia is doing now shows that everything that has been written in NATO's new concept should have been put in place already earlier. "The Russian Foreign Ministry's verbal diarrhea should be of least concern," the minister said. 

Latvia also fully supports including China's factor in NATO's new Strategic Concept, as for the first time the Alliance realizes the necessity to turn attention to China's foreign policy and security challenges. 

As reported, the NATO Summit kicks off in Madrid on Tuesday.