«The main message received from U.S. senators is that Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have no reasons to worry about non-compliance with NATO obligations from their allies,» – notes Saeima Foreign Affairs Committee’s chairman Ojars Eriks Kalnins.
«This was a historic meeting in the Senate, which was attended by 8% of all senators. Such a large representation of senators in talks with Baltic parliamentarians proves – we are strategic partners,» – says the head of Saeima’s Foreign Affairs Committee.
A joint Baltic parliamentarians delegation is currently on a visit in Washington, USA. It is the first visit of Baltic parliamentarians to Washington after the presidential elections in USA. The meeting with senators was hosted by Mitch McConnel, leader of the majority in the U.S. Senate, as BNN was informed by Saeima’s press-service.
Kalnins said that Baltic parliamentarians received support from U.S. House of Representatives and praise for accomplishments on the road towards allocating 2% of GDP for defence in 2018.
After discussing the decision made at the NATO summit in Warsaw in regards to constant presence of allied forces in Baltics and Poland, Latvia’s delegation informed their American colleagues about the active work that is being carried out in the country – creation of a multi-national battalion combat group under Canada’s leadership.
Kalnins described the visit to Washington as a successful one.
As part of the visit organized by Latvia, members of the delegation met with Senator Mitch McConnel and the Senate’s leading senators, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Corker and Co-Chairman Ben Cardin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee John McCain and members of the committee. Baltic parliamentarians also met with Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce, the committee’s co-chairman Eliot Engel and other important figures of the U.S. Senate.
In Washington, Baltic parliamentarians also met with representatives of the European Policy Analysis Centre and took part in a discussion with experts about transatlantic cooperation, security of the Baltic region and NATO matters in The Heritage Foundation think tank and round-table discussion organized by The Atlantic Council.
Latvia’s delegation consists of Ojars Eriks Kalnins, deputy Artis Rasmanis and Martins Bondars.
Saeima’s press-service reports that Chairperson of the parliament’s National Security Committee Solvita Aboltina and Chairman of Defence, Interior and Corruption Prevention Committee Ainars Latkovskis presented Congressman Robert Pittenger a letter of invitation and asked him to attend one of the meetings in the Latvian parliament.
Chairpersons of both committees expressed confidence that modern security challenges increase the necessity for coordinated actions. This is why it is an honour and an opportunity for Latvia to speak up and actualize important security matters in Latvia and Baltic region as part of this parliamentary cooperation platform.