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Monday 24.07.2017 | Name days: Krista, Kristiāna, Kristiāns, Kristīne
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Latvia and France to cooperate more closely in defence field

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULatvia and France have signed an inter-governmental agreement in the field of defence. The new agreement states that both countries will cooperate in multiple defence-related fields – development of security and defence concepts, defence and planning policy, cyber-defence, military exercises, etc.

The agreement provides for the development of mutual relations between Latvian and French defence ministries and armed forces. The agreement was signed in Paris by Latvian Defence Minister Raimonds Bergmanis and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian.

In addition to aforementioned defence fields, the agreement provides for the realization of cooperation between Latvia and France in strategic communication, military information and communication systems and initiatives in armament and equipment matters, as well as medical and language training.

«The signed agreement shows that Latvia and France can change. Our countries have demonstrated the ability to do so, and we have many options for cooperation in the field of defence,» Bergmanis said after the signing of the document, adding that Latvia is also interested in officer training in France.

France’s defence minister affirmed that his country continues to fulfil decisions made during NATO Warsaw summit associated with deterrence policy and involving the deployment of military forces in Baltics: «We wish to be an example in collective defence, not a country that creates risks. We are primarily in favour of maintaining a positive dialogue and peace.»

Up until now mutual cooperation in the field of defence between Latvia and France was being governed by the agreement signed between defence ministries of the two countries on 11 May 1994.

It should be added that France is one of the first countries with which Latvia’s Defence Ministry commenced cooperation. French Defence Minister Pierre Joxe was one of the first foreign defence ministers to visit Latvia.

France’s air force takes part in NATO’s organized patrolling of Baltic airspace. In 2016, France decided to join NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence. French soldiers also take part in military exercises in Latvia.

Bergmanis mentions in his conversation with the French defence minister and Senate representatives that Latvian-French ties are historic: French and Latvian soldiers fought side by side in WWI. Even now Latvia maintains solidarity with France in participation of all kinds of operations and international missions: «France has always been Latvia’s close ally. France helps keep Baltic airspace secure and assists with training of Latvian soldiers. There is potential for our countries to strengthen relations in defence. This is something we have to do together.»

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