bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Friday 18.08.2017 | Name days: Liene, Helēna, Elena, Ellena, Liena
LatviaLatvia

Lembergs and Vejonis exchange harsh words; UGF remains distant

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUFollowing Aivars Lembergs colourful expression of his opinion regarding the presence of NATO soldiers in Latvia, he had an exchange of ‘opinions’ with Latvian Defence Minister Raimonds Vejonis. Meanwhile, Latvian Farmers’ Union and Liepaja Party have been reluctant to comment this situation.

Vejonis has already said that Lembergs’ statements go against Latvia’s security interests and creates security risks. This is why the minister plans to call an emergency meeting of the National Security Council in order to assess Lembergs’ actions and decide what to do about this situation.

It should be added that Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma has ordered to call a meeting of the Coalition Cooperation Council in order to discuss matters of national security.

LFU has never had a cooperation agreement with For Latvia and Ventspils. However, Union of Greens and Farmers does have one, said the Green Party’s Chairman Edgars Tavars. The current agenda of LFU does not include the matter regarding a possible discussion of an agreement with For Latvia and Ventspils. However, each situation has its own borders and its own Mayor. The politician added that it is necessary hear out Defence Minister Vejonis’ opinion on this matter.

The decision of UGF’s Board states that Vejonis represents the party’s opinion regarding matters of security. Chairman of LFU especially noted that the Green Party has a clear position on the role NATO plays for Latvia: NATO guarantees Latvia’s security. Tavars added that the current situation formed as a result of Lembergs’ and Vejonis’ inability to discuss this matter in time, and that this conflict should be resolved calmly and without needless publicity.

There is a possibility that the Board of UGF will discuss this matter, because someone will bring it up, said Tavars. He turned attention towards Saeima deputies Dana Reizniece-Ozola and Jānis Vucāns, who have expressed support for NATO even though they are both members of For Latvia and Ventspils Party. Lembergs’ opinion should be considered as personal.

Augusts Brigmanis avoids commenting the matter regarding future cooperation with For Latvia and Ventspils, saying that the matter regarding NATO soldiers will be discussed in detail during the next coalition council meeting.

Chairman of Liepaja Party Uldis Sesks refuses to comment this situation, saying that he has no time. In response to Lembergs’ colourful description of what NATO forces represent in Latvia, Sesks had previously said that his fellow politician ‘should have used an opportunity to remain silent.’

Chairwoman of Reform Party’s Saeima faction Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica asks UGF to explain the situation, specifically the part how a representative of their partner party Aivars Lembergs is allowed to spread ‘absurd statements that are aimed at ruining Latvia’s prestige and security’.

‘Aivars Lembergs’ statements regarding NATO’s military presence in Latvia and its comparison with military occupation, as well as Lembergs’ decision to demand an apology from NATO Secretary General to Latvia and Latvian people falls against Latvia’s security interests and creates risks for state security,’ – said Vejonis.

Lembergs’ opinion – a weapon for Russian propaganda

There have been multiple incidents in Ventspils last week involving sailors who are part of the ‘Open Spirit 2014’ mine-hunting operation. A Dutch sailor was seriously injured and was hospitalized in Ziemelkurzeme Regional Hospital after suffering a blunt force trauma to the head.

Dutch ambassador in Latvia Hendrik Gerrit Cornelis van den Dool notes that this particular incident is being investigated by the Military Police and State Police. He added that sides should not announce provocative assumptions until details of what actually happened are uncovered. ‘Neither I, nor Mr. Lembergs were present at the incident,’ – said the diplomat.

‘Many different incidents can occur in Ventspils. However, we should keep in mind that the city’s Mayor is responsible for its security,’ – said the ambassador, noting the state of the 21-year-old Dutch sailor is serious.

In order to criticize the presence of NATO forces in Ventspils, Russian state media Russia Today uses some of the most colourful statements Aivars Lembergs has to offer on the situation. The article with the title ‘Peed in public, behave like occupiers’: Latvian mayor complains about NATO sailors’ RT condemned NATO in Latvia. The article also includes multiple citations of Lembergs opinion on the presence of foreign military forces in Ventspils.

RT cited the ‘outspoken critic of Latvian-NATO cooperation’ and his opinion that NATO sailors ‘behaved like occupiers, who do not recognize Latvia’s sovereignty’.

Aivars Lembergs’ friendly relations with Russia, including one of his latest statements that the only ones to benefit from the presence NATO soldiers in Latvia would be the prostitutes, was picked up by Russian media in the past as well.

As a result, Lembergs once said on Russian television: ‘We all know how Americans behaved in Japan, Iraq, Vietnam and many other corners of the world. Latvia has a treaty with USA that states that American soldiers are to be stand trial in USA for any offences they perform in Latvia. This is why I believe it is very dangerous to have foreign military forces present in Latvia,’ – he said.

For Latvia and Ventspils party may be expelled from UGF

Lembergs’ opinion has not gone unnoticed in Latvia. Social networks are filled with a furious storm over this kind of opinion. High-rank Latvian officials express their thoughts on this as well. Former Latvian Defence Minister Artis Pabriks condemned Lembergs’ statements on his Twitter page; rhetorically asking if anyone in Ventspils would like to follow the example set up by Donetsk – request independence and join Russia.

Latvia’s current Defence Minister Raimonds Vejonis distances himself from the matter, referencing his previous decision not to dwell on such statements. In spite of this, he continues to receive angry comments from society. According to the people, such a position of a minister sounds more like ‘I don’t care’ or ‘leave me alone’.

Public figures express deep concern over the fact that Kremlin’s main television channel shows how the most popular politician of the Union of Greens and Farmers – Lembergs – openly says NATO is a threat to Europe and Russia. They add that Lembergs’ party For Latvia and Ventspils should be expelled from UGF.

Unity’s representative, MEP of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Inese Vaidere told BNN that Lembergs most recent statements came as a complete surprise for her. She believes such an attitude towards this matter is irresponsible. ‘NATO is the only guarantee of Latvia’s security at the moment. Mr Lembergs might not have noticed what is currently going on in Ukraine and what happened in Moldova and Georgia after Russia’s attempts to create the Eurasian Union or even restore the Soviet Union, hoping to include these countries in it,’ – said Vaidere.

‘It is unfathomable how the Union of Greens and Farmers could propose a person with such views as a possible candidate for the post of Prime Minister of Latvia. We can only imagine Latvia’s fate if he had become Prime Minister at some point,’ – says MEP and Chairman of For Fatherland and Freedom/ LNNK party Roberts Zīle.

He believes UGF should decide whether they, as the political party responsible for Defence Ministry and Latvia’s ties to NATO, represent Latvia as a country tied to Western values or a country turned towards Kremlin’s Eurasian Union ideology.

‘These two political vectors cannot meet. This is why we expect this political party to provide a clear opinion and make a political choice – either such statements are acceptable for them or they are not. If UGF remains silent, then there is a high probability that this party may form a coalition with Harmony Centre or any other pro-Kremlin party that may end up in the Saeima after the elections. This scenario is very dangerous, because it may lead to Latvia’s exit from NATO and notable increase of Russia’s influence,‘ – believes Zīle.

Ref: 102.109.109.5782


Leave a reply

  1. mike walsh says:

    I of course read and comment on unfolding events across Europe and Russia. It is increasingly clear that the Baltic States elite, and their ‘on message’ media, are woefully out of step with their European counterparts.
    It is a sobering thought that the Baltic States may be the only ones left to laud American policy via their surrogate NATO alliance. This will not aid future Baltic security or trade opportunities when the intended Ukrainian regime change falls apart.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Kirsis asks police to assess possible forging of votes at Riga City Council

Riga City Council’s Unity faction chairman Vilnis Kirsis has asked State Police to check if the city council’s electronic voting system was used without another deputy’s knowledge or consent, said the politician.

Expert: attack in Spain shows how terrorists switched to more easily reachable targets

Terrorist attacks that transpired in Spain this week shows how terrorists have switched to more easily reachable targets, where security requirements are not as strict, says Latvian National Defence Academy’s Security and Strategic Research Centre researcher Martins Hirss.

New mandatory tests in schools to be introduced four years from now

In four years’ time – 2021/2022 school year – it is planned to introduce completely new mandatory tests in schools, as reported by State Education Content Centre Director Guntars Catlaks.

Nearly 9,000 children and their parents got homes thanks to state support programme

In the first half-year of 2017, state support helped 1,527 families in Latvia to buy homes. Compared with last year, families’ demand for state support has grown 6%, as reported by Altum finance institute.

Prediction: Aseradens will likely take control over Unity

Economy Minister Arvils Aseradens will become the head of Unity, Betsafe bookmakers predict. The possibility of Aseradens becoming the head of the party is given 45% probability by Betsafe.

Provisional estimate for next year’s fiscal space in Latvia is EUR 60 million

Next year’s fiscal space has been estimated at EUR 60 million, as noted by Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola, adding that a more precise estimate will be available at the end of August.

Reconstruction of Vilnius airport runway concludes; aircraft return to Vilnius

On Thursday, 17 August, Vilnius airport’s runway was festively opened. This was the most massive reconstruction for the airport in the past 20 years. It was a unique project for Lithuania and all of Europe, airport representatives say.

Islamic State terrorist group takes responsibility for Barcelona attack

The recent terrorist attack in Barcelona, in which a shuttle bus rammed a crowd of people on La Rambla, killing 13 and injuring at least 100, has become this week’s topic.

Weather in Latvia to be warm but rainy on weekends

The sun will appear every now and then between clouds on Friday, 18 August. Still, some rain is expected, especially in the afternoon in Latvia’s eastern regions, where thunderstorms may appear. Rain is expected to reach the capital in the afternoon. Wind will draw in from the south. Air temperature will reach +21° C… +26° C, according to State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Latvia’s export growth was moderately rapid in the first six months of 2017

Compared with the same period of 2016, Latvia experienced a moderately rapid export growth in the first six months of 2017, according to data published by Eurostat on Thursday, 17 August.

Latvia’s annual inflation in July was one of the highest in Europe

Inflation indexes in Latvia and the UK both reached 2.6% in July, which is one of the highest indexes in the European Union, according to data published by Eurostat on Thursday, 17 August.

Kirsis withdraws his candidacy in favour of Aseradens

Riga City Council member Vilnis Kirsis has decided to withdraw his candidacy from the race to become chairman of Unity in favour of a different candidate – Economy Minister Arvils Aseradens.

Rinkevics expresses Latvia’s interest in maintaining political consultations with Palestine

On Thursday, 17 August, Latvia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkevics met with the leader of Palestine’s diplomatic mission in Latvia, ambassador Taissir Al Adjouri, to discuss mutual relations between Latvia and Palestine and the peace process in the Middle East.

Putin grins to the world’s seven billionth baby, Lithuania wary of border incidents

Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a visit this Wednesday to Kaliningrad, the westernmost point of Russia, but the reports about his trip in the Russian enclave and over the border in Lithuania were strikingly different.

Survey: red considered the safest colour for a car

Most Latvian drivers consider red to be the safest colour for a car. The most popular, however, is black, according to results of a survey by Virši-A fuel trader.

airBaltic’s number of carried passengers reaches a record in second consecutive month

Latvian airBaltic airline carried 393,312 passengers in July 2017, which is 21% more than the same period last year. The number of passengers carried by airBaltic remains the highest it has ever been in the airline’s history, BNN was informed by the company.

Brivais vilnis: nearly all fish processing companies are experiencing losses

Currently nearly all fish processing companies in Latvia are experiencing major or minor losses, says Brivais vilnis chairman Arnols Babris.

American helicopters to perform low-altitude flights within Latvia’s airspace

U.S. Air Force Brigade’s Task Force Phoenix helicopters, which are stationed in Latvia as part of Atlantic Resolve operation, will be performing low-altitude flights from 16:00 to 18:00 from Lielvarde to Dobele on Friday, 18 August.

Healthcare Ministry’s state secretary Karlis Ketners may be replaced

Latvian Healthcare Ministry may replace its state secretary Karlis Ketners. It is possible he will be transferred to work at Finance Ministry, as reported by LTV.

Suspects in Europe's insecticide egg scandal before Dutch court

In the Netherlands, two men have been in court in relation to the scandal of eggs containing banned insecticide that has caused an EU-wide health scare and cost millions of euros of damages.

Indian national with fake documents apprehended on Latvian border

An Indian citizen travelling from Moscow on a bus was caught at Terehovo border control point in Latvia for presenting officers a fake EU family member’s resident card. No criminal process was launched. The person returned to the country he was travelling from.

Latvijas dzelzceļš will not have to pay dividends from last year’s profits

The government decided on Wednesday, 16 August, that Latvijas dzelzceļš will not have to pay dividends from last year’s profits, which were EUR 880,998.

Latvian citizenship provided to 103 people

The Cabinet of Ministers has issued an order to provide Latvian citizenship to 103 people through naturalization.

Estonian Inbank's profits reach EUR 5.7 million in six months

Estonian financial services' provided Inbank made a profit of 5.7 million euros in the first half of 2017, which is a 429.4% increase compared to the respective period in 2016.

Agriculture Ministry invites residents to sign up for measures to support fisheries

From 21 August onward, Rural Support Service plans to start accepting applications for projects to receive support from European Maritime and Fisheries Fund’s action plan for development of fisheries in 2014-2020 as part of projects Innovation, Productive Investments in Aquaculture and Fishing and Aquaculture project processing.