Edvards Smiltēns in Madrid: We thank Spain for contributing to strengthening the security of the Baltic region

(12.05.2023.)
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“We are grateful to Spain for its significant contribution in strengthening NATO deterrence and defence capabilities in the Baltic region. Latvia and Spain share excellent bilateral relations and cooperation within the European Union and NATO,” Edvards Smiltēns, Speaker of the Saeima, noted during his working visit to Spain.

Spain’s participation in the NATO enhanced forward presence battlegroup in Latvia with the second largest contingent therein and its patrolling of the Baltic air space is an excellent example of the unity and solidarity of the allies, the Speaker of the Saeima said, thanking Spain also for deploying its air defence system NASAMS and additional soldiers to Latvia. We look forward to continuing our close partnership in defence to ensure long-term stability and peace in the Eastern flank of NATO, emphasised Speaker Smiltēns.

The Speaker of the Saeima noted the importance of implementing the decisions on strengthening the Eastern flank, which were adopted at the NATO Summit in Madrid. In turn, in preparation of the Vilnius Summit, the priority is to expand the enhanced presence battlegroup to combat-ready brigade size, Speaker Smiltēns said and went on to note that concrete decisions on strengthening anti-aircraft defence in the Baltic region are also needed. The creation of a new, larger military base in Latvia was also discussed.

We are interested in deepening our cooperation in the technological sector, including the development of defence and green technologies, Speaker Smiltēns said, noting that Latvia highly appreciates the involvement of Spanish companies in implementing the “Rail Baltica” project.

When discussing multilateral cooperation, both parties agreed that it is crucial to continue upholding the rule of law and supporting Ukraine. Russia must be brought to justice for the crimes of aggression perpetrated in Ukraine. The Speaker of the Saeima noted the support Latvia has provided to Ukraine. Ukraine must become a member of the European Union and NATO as soon as possible, Speaker Smiltēns said.

During the visit to Madrid, Speaker Smiltēns met with Maria Cristina Narbona Ruiz, First Vice President of the Senate of Spain, and Meritxell Batet Lamaña, President of the Congress of Deputies.

The Speaker of the Saeima also met with Juan Francisco Martínez Núñez, Secretary General for Defence Policy of the Ministry of Defence of Spain, and Pascual Ignacio Navarro Rios, Secretary General for the European Union of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, and provided interviews to several Spanish media outlets.

The Speaker of the Saeima is accompanied on the visit to Spain by Raimonds Bergmanis, Chair of the Defence, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee of the Saeima, Rihards Kols, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Andris Sprūds, Chair of the European Affairs Committee.

 

Saeima Press Service

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