“We learn who our true friends are in times of hardship, and Canada has consistently shown that we can fully rely on it. We are close partners with excellent relations throughout history, and, at this time when the security of NATO’s eastern flank is the number one priority, we feel the friendly and strong support of Canada,” underlined Edvards Smiltēns, Speaker of the Saeima, on Tuesday, 14 March, at a meeting with George J. Furey, Speaker of the Senate of Canada, who is on an official visit to Latvia.
Currently, NATO is as strong as the joint capacity of the Baltic States, Poland, and their partners to deter Russia. It is important to ensure clear, unequivocal presence of Canada here. At present, we are working with our Canadian partners to implement the decisions taken at the NATO Madrid Summit and expand the size of the NATO battlegroup in Latvia to the brigade level, expressed the Speaker of the Saeima.
Speaker Furey underlined that one of the aims of the visit was to reaffirm Canada’s commitment to continuing providing all the necessary support for the security of the Baltic region.
The European security architecture is undergoing tectonic shifts, admitted the Speaker of the Saeima. Seeing the true face of the aggressor, the civilised world is reevaluating its preexisting notions about Russia. Finland and Sweden are making historic decisions to join NATO, which will significantly strengthen the Alliance. Together, we are a part of these changes, and we contribute to them. Therefore, it is of decisive importance that the aggressor does not remain unpunished, that the Russian people acknowledge and show remorse for the atrocities committed, said Smiltēns.
The parties discussed their support for trying Russia at the International Criminal Court and the need for establishing a special international tribunal for the investigation of Russia’s crime of aggression so that decision-makers could also be tried.
Another topic of the conversation was the possibility of forfeiting Russia’s frozen assets in European and North American countries so that they could be used for the reconstruction of Ukraine. Canada has been investigating such options in great detail and has possibly made more progress than other countries, expressed the Speaker of the Saeima, noting that Latvia is very interested to learn about Canada’s conclusions in this matter.
The Speaker of the Senate of Canada is currently on an official visit to Latvia with his spouse and a delegation, which includes Canadian Senators Tony Dean, Robert Black, and Margaret Dawn Anderson. Together with the Speaker of the Saeima, Kaspars Briškens, Deputy Chair of the Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee, and Ingrīda Circene, Deputy Chair of the Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee, also participated in the meeting with Speaker Furey.
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Saeima Press Service