Strengthening defense capabilities and support to Ukraine will be key topics at upcoming NATO summit - Braze

  • 2024-05-24
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The key topics of the NATO Washington Summit will be the strengthening of the alliance's defense capabilities and support to Ukraine, Foreign Minister Baiba Braze said while meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday.

As LETA was told at the Foreign Ministry, the meeting between Braze and Stoltenberg focused on the priorities of the NATO summit to be held in Washington between 9 and 11 July, the development of NATO’s deterrence and defense capabilities, comprehensive support for Ukraine, as well as the need to develop a strategy to rein in Russia.

Braze noted that strengthening NATO's eastern flank was one of key issues she discussed with the NATO chief. The foreign minister underlined that Russia’s full-scale aggression against Ukraine is a gross violation of international law and leaves a significant impact on global security and prosperity, so we expect practical results in terms of NATO deterrence and defense, as well as in boosting the capabilities of the Alliance's defense industry. 

At the meeting, the minister underlined the need to achieve the target of all NATO countries contributing at least 2 percent of their GDP to defense so as to ensure a fair and equitable burden sharing among Allies. Latvia and the other Baltic states have already exceeded that target: currently Latvia's contribution to defense goes beyond 3 percent.

"Given that Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine affects Latvia’s vital security interests, we are giving all possible support to Ukraine. Providing sufficient support to Ukraine is of critical importance," Braze underlined.

The Latvian foreign minister also said during the meeting that "Ukraine has the right to also use weapons supplied by the West for strikes at military facilities in the Russian territory from where Russia attacks Ukraine, since that is governed by international law. Ukraine may strike targets not only in the sovereign territory of Ukraine, but also in the areas that Russia attacks it from."

NATO is of critical importance for strengthening of Latvia's security. The officials discussed the implementation of NATO’s defence plans and strengthening the Allied presence in the Baltics. In the current geopolitical situation, all NATO members need to reinforce their security in a forward-looking and coordinated manner.

The minister emphasized that, in the military sector, Latvia is developing its National Armed Forces (on April 5 2023, the Saeima adopted the State Defense Service Law reinstating the defense service) and is cooperating with NATO Allies in joint military drills and exercises. Latvia also participates in international operations and missions, as well as in the NATO Response Force, which is the main military mechanism of the Alliance to tackle crises.

Braze said that Latvia is advancing broad military and civilian capabilities in a targeted way, including in areas important for the Alliance as a whole, such as strategic communication, clearance of unexploded ordnance and the preparation of Joint Terminal Attack Controllers.

At the meeting, the officials exchanged views on developments in the Middle East. Braze briefed Stoltenberg on her recent visit to Georgia.

At the NATO Headquarters, the minister also met with the Assistant Secretary General for Innovation, Hybrid, and Cyber, David van Weel, and the Assistant Secretary General for Defense Policy and Planning, Angus Lapsley.

The minister then took part in a meeting of Ambassadors to NATO of the member states on the Alliance’s eastern flank, and met with officials from NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division.

From 2020 to 2023, Braze held the post of Assistant Secretary General of NATO for Public Diplomacy.

At the conclusion of her visit, Braze will also meet with the winners of the Latvia's 20 Years in NATO quiz organized by the Foreign Ministry, who won a visit to NATO Headquarters as the prize.