Tomorrow, on 28 May, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s (PA) Riga Session will begin. It will continue for five days – until 1 June. The Assembly will be attended by approximately 700 participants – parliamentarians from the NATO PA member states and associate member states, observers, experts and journalists.Riga Session will be attended by parliamentarians from 28 NATO member states and from 13 associate member states of the NATO PA. Representatives from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Assembly of WEU (the European Security and Defence Assembly) and the European Parliament will also participate in this Session as will representatives from the Afghan parliament. Indeed Afghanistan will be one of the key issues in committee meetings and in the plenary session. Another focus will be the next steps in drafting the NATO's new strategic concept. Participants of the Session will also focus on risks related to military, economic and energy security that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is bound to face in the future. In the panel discussions, participants of the Session will discuss the influence of long-term economic changes on the global balance of power, NATO-Russia relations, the strengthening of cooperation between NATO and the European Union and other issues.The work of the NATO PA Session is organised in five committees which will hold meetings on Saturday and Sunday. During the committee meetings, parliamentarians are traditionally addressed by officials and experts from the host country. At this Session, Latvia will be represented by Ms. Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, former President of Latvia; Mr. Imants Lieģis, Minister of Defence; Mr. Juris Maklakovs, Commander of National Armed Forces; Mr. Aivis Ronis, Minister of Foreign Affairs, who has participated in drafting the NATO’s New Strategic Concept; Mr. Ilmārs Rimšēvičs, Governor of the Bank of Latvia; and Ms. Žaneta Ozoliņa, Professor at the University of Latvia.The main event of the Session will be the NATO PA Plenary Sitting on 1 June. The Plenary Sitting will be addressed by several high-level officials, such as the NATO PA President, U.S. Congressman John Tanner, and Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General. Latvia’s high officials will be represented by Mr. Gundars Daudze, Chairman of the Saeima, and Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis, who will also give their addresses at the plenary session. During this Session, it is also planned to nominate presidential candidates for the NATO PA. The term of office of the current President will expire in autumn 2010, when the elections of the next President will take place.On the first day of the Session, 28 May, a press briefing will take place in connection with the Riga Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. The press briefing will be given by Mr. Sven Mikser, Vice President of the NATO PA; Mrs. Vaira Paegle, Head of the Latvian delegation to the NATO PA; and Mr. David Hobbs, Secretary General of the NATO PA. On Friday afternoon, there will also be a meeting of the Secretaries of Delegation.
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