Edvards Smiltēns discusses strengthening collective defence with Polish President

(01.02.2023.)
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Latvia and Poland have historical ties, and our security is closely interlinked. Strategic cooperation between Poland and the Baltic States is particularly important in the new geopolitical situation. This was underlined by Edvards Smiltēns, Speaker of the Saeima, when he received Andrzej Duda, President of Poland, at the Saeima on Wednesday, 1 February. The President of Poland is in Latvia on an official visit.

The Saeima Speaker stressed the traditionally very similar understanding of foreign policy and defence issues, and highlighted the Declaration signed this January by the Speakers of the Baltic and Polish Parliaments as a solid basis for even closer cooperation.

The Polish President stressed the necessity for the countries of our region to work very hard on improving military defence capabilities and developing infrastructure, thus sending a strong deterrent signal to Russia. The Speaker of the Saeima acknowledged that progress should be made in implementing the Madrid Summit decisions before the forthcoming NATO Vilnius Summit, thus strengthening the security of the Eastern flank of the Alliance significantly.

Latvia is grateful to Poland for its contribution to regional security, including its participation in the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup and its regular participation in the Baltic Air Policing Mission.

Edvards Smiltēns and Andrzej Duda agreed on the most important joint task now—to provide all the necessary support to the Ukrainians who are shedding their blood also for our freedom and the chance to live in a democracy. Both participants stressed the need to continue to persuade our Western allies to engage to the maximum in helping Ukraine.

They agreed on the importance of establishing an international tribunal to investigate and punish the aggression of Russia. "The aggressor must be held accountable for the war crimes committed, as the impunity for the crimes committed during World War Two has contributed to the current attitude of the Russian people towards the invasion of Ukraine and their support for a criminal regime," said the Speaker of the Saeima.

The Speaker of the Saeima pointed out the visible urgency of cooperation not only in the field of security, but also that of the economy. Infrastructure projects of regional importance should be implemented jointly, ensuring Baltic connectivity with Western Europe and promoting energy independence from Russia.

The President of Poland thanked Latvia for the positive attitude of our country and society towards the Polish people living here, as they have the opportunity to freely cherish their language, culture, and national traditions.

The meeting was also attended by Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Deputy Speaker of the Saeima; Armands Krauze, Secretary of the Saeima; Rihards Kols, Chair of the Saeima Foreign Affairs Committee; Andris Sprūds, Chair of the Saeima European Affairs Committee; and Juris Viļums, Head of the Saeima Group for promoting cooperation with the Parliament of Poland.

 

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Saeima Press Service

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