Edvards Smiltēns in Prague: Russia’s neighbours cannot afford to stay neutral

(24.04.2023.)
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“21 years ago in Prague, Latvia received an invitation to join NATO, and now we are discussing the restoration of justice regarding Ukraine on the very same premises. Today more than ever we need the same courage and wisdom to eliminate the grey area of political ambivalence in Europe. Back then, we did not want to remain in the shadow or on the sidelines, and we do not want this to happen to any other nation. Russia’s neighbours in Europe cannot afford to stay neutral,” emphasised Edvards Smiltēns, Speaker of the Saeima, on Monday, 24 April, at the Conference of Speakers of European Union Parliaments in Prague, the Czech Republic.

The Speaker of the Saeima underlined that, while developing our security environment, we would need a strategy even after Ukraine’s victory in the war. “We must create a broader and more harmonised policy of delimitation,” said Smiltēns, noting that this would also require broader changes to economic cooperation frameworks and a desire to collectively defend our values all across the world. The sanctions policy, response to global disinformation, and assistance to our partners mark the beginning of this path, expressed the Speaker of the Saeima.

Smiltēns voiced the broadly shared hope that Ukrainians would manage to defeat the Russian army and quickly push it out of the entire territory of Ukraine, admitting that we must also be ready for a prolonged war. The Speaker of the Saeima stressed that even once Ukrainians have pushed the Russian army away from their soil, Russia will not accept this reality. “Russian imperialism is deeply rooted in their society and will remain a threat to us,” emphasised Smiltēns.

The Speaker of the Saeima referred to the historic NATO Summit of late 2002. Smiltēns mentioned that Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, the President of Latvia back then, accepted the invitation for Latvia to join NATO and, on behalf of our country, solemnly promised and affirmed our commitment to do everything in our power so that we would not only contribute to strengthening the Alliance, but also create a world where justice and freedom are available to everyone.

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Saeima Press Service

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