NATO will protect every Ally, Secretary General says in Latvia
Arriving in Riga on Thursday (20 November 2014), NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg emphasised that the Alliance will “protect and defend each and every Ally.” The Secretary General said that commitment is clear to see: "NATO aircraft are policing Baltic skies, NATO ships are patrolling the Baltic Sea, and NATO forces are starting an exercise in Europe every two days."
In a meeting with President Andris Bērziņš, the Secretary General discussed security challenges to the east, and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. They underscored the importance of implementing the Readiness Action Plan agreed at the Wales Summit in full and on time.
The Secretary General thanked Latvia for its valuable contributions to the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan, its participation in the initiative to create a Joint Expeditionary Force, and for hosting the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence. He welcomed Latvia's commitment to raise defence expenditure in line with the pledge made by NATO leaders in Wales.
Mr Stoltenberg also noted the importance of Latvia’s political role in promoting European defence, as Latvia prepares to assume the European Union’s rotating presidency in January.
The Secretary General also held talks with Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs and Defence Minister Raimonds Vējonis. On 21 November, the Secretary General will meet troops from several Allied nations at the Ādaži Military Base.