by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Latvian eFP Battlegroup opening ceremony, Camp Ādaži, Latvia

  • 19 Jun. 2017 -
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  • Last updated: 19 Jun. 2017 11:55

(As delivered)

President Vejonis, Minister Bergmanis, Minister Sajjan,

Men and women of NATO’s armed forces, I salute you. Many of you have come to Camp Adazi from southern and central Europe, and many of you have travelled more than 7,000 kilometres, all the way from Alberta, Canada, to serve here, in the eastern part of our Alliance. You embody the unique spirit and solidarity of NATO. Many people, from different countries, with different backgrounds, working together toward a common purpose: to protect the security of our nations and the safety of our citizens. Any deployment has its challenges. It’s not easy being separated from your families and loved ones, but you should know that your presence here in Latvia is deeply appreciated. It sends a powerful signal, a powerful message: our Alliance stands as one and an attack on one Ally will be regarded as an attack on all. This is the unbreakable commitment that has kept our nations safe for nearly 70 years.

Today NATO fulfils the promise we made at our summit in Warsaw only a year ago. A promise to deploy four multinational battlegroups. In Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, and right here in Latvia. To defend our Alliance, to deter aggression and to preserve the peace. As of today, that deployment is complete.

I want to thank Canada for leading this battlegroup. This is Canada’s largest deployment in Europe since the Cold War and a testament of NATO’s strong transatlantic bond.

I also want to thank Latvia for hosting – and contributing to – this battlegroup.

And I want to thank Albania, Italy, Poland, Slovenia and Spain, for providing troops and equipment to this multinational effort.

Tomorrow I will visit Lithuania where a German-led battlegroup has been deployed, with support from Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Norway. I also want to pay tribute to the United Kingdom for leading our battlegroup in Estonia with support from France and from Denmark. And to the United States for leading our battlegroup in Poland.

With support from Romania and the United Kingdom.

Together, we are NATO. Allies working as one. As part of the largest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War.

Your presence here demonstrates NATO’s unity and solidarity. Unity in the shared values and common purpose of NATO and solidarity which reaches across the Atlantic. 

Your service reflects the vitality of our transatlantic bond.

Once again, I thank all of you for what you do in defence of our peace and our freedom. Thank you.