Latvian President Andris Bērziņš, after meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Tallinn, claimed that solidarity and unanimity is necessary to halt further aggression in Ukraine.

''Security cooperation, based on shared values, is the foundation of our relations. I thank President Obama for the American leadership. Your support – the European Reassurance Initiative – is very important for our region's security. I am confident that the U.S. Congress will pass it without delay,'' the Latvian president said, thanking the U.S. for its military presence in the Baltic region.'' We would like to see U.S. troops and equipment in Latvia as long as necessary.''

Bērziņš confirmed that Latvia supports the United States' efforts in consolidating a strong international stance against Russia's invasions of Ukraine, and pointed out that solidarity and unanimity is needed to halt further aggression in Ukraine.

Latvia's President pointed out that Transatlantic relations and the U.S. presence in Europe is crucial for Euroatlantic security and more investment in defense is needed. He added that  Latvia will increase defense spending to 2% of GDP by 2020.

He also noted that the recent developments in Ukraine are a further proof of the urgency to reduce dependency on one supplier. 

''I would like to convey my gratitude to our friends and partners for the significant contribution and support in opening the OECD membership talks with Latvia. The Baltic states and the U.S. have a shared interest in supporting economic development and good governance in the EU's Eastern partnership countries and in Central Asia. This will be the main priority during Latvia’s Presidency in the Council of the EU next year,'' the president said at the end of his address, emphasizing that the Baltic States and the U.S. are natural partners bound by a shared belief in democratic governance, the rule of law and respect for human rights and civil liberties.

Obama met Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves along Latvian President Andris Bērziņš and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite to discuss regional security cooperation and common defence policy.The discussions involved matters concerning the Baltic-U.S. cyber security partnership, EU-U.S. Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, relations between Europe and the United States in regard to energy matters, facilitation of economic growth and efficient governance in the European Union's Eastern Partnership countries and Central Asia.

After the meeting with heads of the Baltic States, Obama delivered a speech to students and leaders of civic organisations and political leaders. "Baltic states, you will never stand alone," said United States President Barack Obama also stressing that one of the causes of his visit today is that the Baltic states are the best allies of the United States in NATO. "And we've demonstrated our commitment to you, for example, with the Baltic air policing mission," Obama said.


Photo: Latvijas Valsts prezidenta kanceleja
Latvian Institute, 04.09.2014, Security