RIGA - US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke to the nine members of NATO's eastern flank, or the Bucharest Nine, on Monday, and, according to Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity), the US and the Bucharest Nine (B9) countries have a common assessment of the security situation.
The Minister also noted that the United States and the B9 countries were in agreement that there were certain issues on which there could be no compromise, such as NATO's policies within its member states, strengthening NATO's defense capabilities and the alliance's open door policy.
"Throughout this situation, the United States is showing absolute transparency, which I can only praise. We are being informed about the talks between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The upcoming ten days were also discussed in a calendar sense," Rinkevics said.
The Foreign Minister noted that a meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in video format would take place on Friday in preparation for next week's NATO-Russia Council, which will take place on the level of ambassador, to discuss a common position ahead of talks between the US and Russia, NATO and Russia, and within Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) format.
"Again, there is a great deal of coordination and consultation at Allied level, as well as transparency of information, which in itself is important. It dispels each other's concerns which some may hear from analysts and through social networks about whether or not there will be a deal struck behind the backs of NATO allies or those allies on NATO's eastern flank," said the Latvian Foreign Minister.
According to Rinkevics, this type of transparency is highly appreciated and removes concerns about this issue, which affects NATO-related matters.
"Of course, we are concerned about what is happening around Ukraine and Russia's very aggressive rhetoric. This issue, how to act and coordinate, is also being discussed in various formats, including this one," the Minister emphasized.
Speaking about whether there are concerns among Eastern European countries that against the background of the crisis in Ukraine, the big Western countries may reach an agreement with Moscow without taking their interests into account, Rinkevics noted that this discussion is widespread at various levels, and such scenarios are being discussed by political analysts, academics and journalist, as well as in the political environment - in national parliaments.
The Minister emphasized that in all these discussions between Allies, all of them, including Latvia, emphasize that in the 21st century, such Russian ultimatums, as they have been proposed, are not acceptable. He noted that there was a broad consensus among the Allies that this type of veto by Russia over NATO enlargement was not acceptable. This position is also supported by non-NATO countries, such as Finland.
"It is also emphasized that there can be no conversation about us without us. Everyone agrees on this. The way the discussion and the exchange of information takes place is, in my view, to be welcomed. Of course, given our historical experience and knowing our neighbor, different scenarios will always be discussed, and there will always be these concerns that we do not want to see new Munich or Yalta-type agreements," said the Minister.