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Saturday 21.10.2017 | Name days: Severīns, Urzula

Defence Minister: few hundred thousand lats should go to poor countries yearly

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU, Artis Pabriks

The Defence Minister Artis Pabriks

During the following years, Latvia should allocate few hundred thousand lats to the development assistance program of poor countries, considers Defence Minister Artis Pabriks.

The Minister told journalists Latvia should invest 0.17% of the state budget in the development of such countries, yet at present the amount allocated for this purpose is 804 lats. I am ashamed to say to my foreign colleagues our sum is 804 lats, Pabriks admits. After the visit to Afghanistan the Defence Minister realized Latvia’s military engagement must be balanced with the civilian; moreover, the civilian specialist assistance should be much larger.

Afghanistan is home to about 30 million people, but the country’s budget is 1.7 billion U.S. dollars (around LVL 880 mln). Norway annually spends 100 million euro (LVL70 mln) on the development assistance program of this country.

By 2014, which is referred to as the time when Latvia could review its presence in Afghanistan, according to Pabriks, it should start investing at least as much money as in 2006 – and these are couple of hundred thousand lats. Of course, not all funds of the mentioned program will be invested directly in Afghanistan, there are other countries such as Georgia and Moldova.

Despite the difficult situation in the Latvian state budget, it is possible to find funds, besides the invested money would later come back as good relations with other countries. We are not living in an isolated world. If we invest, we also gain some benefit, the Minister explains his point of view. This is not a waste of money, as it will allow Latvia to implement a range of other objectives in the economy, politics and culture.

The Minister will try to attain the support for his proposal by lobbying development policy matters. Providing assistance to less developed countries is exactly the same thing as when people donate few lats to the sick ones, Pabriks believes.

As regards the visit to Afghanistan, the Minister revealed that soon an officer from Latvia will be given a post at the headquarters operations in Kabul. This is a large achievement. Every morning these headquarters carry out military planning on the whole territory of Afghanistan.

After seeing the Latvian contingent soldiers’ living conditions and equipment Pabriks recognizes it as sufficient, and quite soon the Latvian soldiers will receive long-promised armoured vehicles.

Soon the Latvian Defence Ministry plans to sign a cooperation agreement with the Danish Ministry of Defence on the transportation of troops to and from Afghanistan. The existing agreement with the Norwegians will not be terminated. Currently, if a soldier wishes to get to Afghanistan, he must first fly to Norway’s capital Oslo, from where the flights are further operated to the distant country. From now on, soldiers from Latvia can also use Denmark’s passenger traffic services for flights to and from Afghanistan.

Pabriks is convinced together with partners at NATO and the European Union civilian mission specialists it will be possible to build a more or less stable state administration system in Afghanistan that will be able to limit the threats of terrorism, and help restore agriculture. According to the Minister, radicalism will decline in this country if the economic situation becomes more stable.

Also in nearest time two to three military pilots will go to the Afghan city Kandahar, together with the Lithuanian soldiers, to train the Afghan troops in operating helicopters manufactured in Russia

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  1. T_d says:

    Each country should allocate proportionally to their funds or help in other ways by providing materials etc.

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