Deputy Secretary General visits NATO battlegroup in Latvia
NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller began a two-day trip to Latvia with a visit to the NATO multinational battlegroup in Ādaži on Thursday (1 February 2018). Led by Canada, the battlegroup is one of four operational in the eastern part of the Alliance.
Alongside Latvian State Secretary for Defence Jānis Garisons, Gottemoeller addressed the multinational force, which serves with Latvian troops to defend the Alliance and deter aggression. The Canadian-led force includes troops and equipment from Albania, Italy, Poland, Slovakia Slovenia, Spain and soon the Czech Republic. The Deputy Secretary General was also joined by senior diplomats from these countries.
Gottemoeller stressed that the NATO battlegroups send an unmistakable message: "We are NATO. Many of us, as individuals and as nations, working together as one Alliance." She thanked Latvia for hosting and contributing to the battlegroup in Ādaži and praised Canada for serving as the lead nation. She noted that this is Canada's largest troop deployment in Europe since the Cold War, demonstrating the strength of NATO's transatlantic bond.
On Friday (2 February), the Deputy Secretary General held talks in Riga with Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Andrejs Pildegovičs, State Secretary for Defence Jānis Garisons, and the Chairman of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. Ojārs Kalniņš. Gottemoeller praised Latvia’s contributions to NATO, from hosting a multinational battlegroup to supporting the Alliance’s Resolute Support Mission. She also welcomed Latvia’s commitment to increase defence spending to 2 percent of GDP this year.
Later on Friday, the Deputy Secretary General delivered a speech to students at the Riga Graduate School of Law. She outlined NATO’s adaptation to new security challenges and offered observations on issues of international law, including in the areas of arms control and women, peace and security. In Riga, Gottemoeller also visited the Centre of Excellence for Strategic Communications, engaging in discussions on countering disinformation.