Riga, 30 May 2010 - LATVIAN FOREIGN MINISTER WELCOMES NATO PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY, LOOKS TO NEW STRATEGIC CONCEPT
Latvia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs outlined his country’s vision of NATO’s new Strategic Concept in his presentation to delegates of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly to Riga on Saturday.
"We meet in a year when Allies are contemplating a future vision of NATO for the next decade," Aivis Ronis told the Assembly’s Political Committee, referring to the new text currently being discussed at NATO headquarters in
Ronis, who was one of the group of 12 experts commissioned by NATO to put forward proposals for the new text, said he agreed with the group’s chairman, the Honorable Madeleine Albright. "Between now and 2020, the
He stressed the importance of maintaining the “adequate resources and political will" for the new Strategic Concept to be effective, especially in the light of the financial crisis and current budgetary hardships.
His countrymen do not need convincing of the benefits of NATO membership, the foreign minister said, with around 60 per cent of the population firmly in support of the
He reminded the assembled parliamentarians that they had an important role to play in their national legislatures, particularly as defence budgets in
The changing landscape of security threats required new initiatives, Ronis said. He congratulated
The minister underlined that arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation were "important for lasting stability and peace." He welcomed the recent US-Russian agreement on strategic nuclear weapons, and the conclusions of April’s Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.
Speaking days after Moscow announced a controversial project to source military equipment from NATO allies, the Latvian foreign minister suggested that "there should perhaps be a more imaginative use of Article 4 on consultation" among the Alliance’s members.
That article "should not just be restricted to considering imminent threats," he said. "We take the view that it could be used as a means to discuss potential transfers by NATO member states of military equipment and technology to third countries where there could be implications to regional security…We feel these are important issues for Latvia.”
Looking forward, Ronis emphasised the importance of "restoring trust and confidence ... in NATO relations with Russia."
The new Strategic Concept is expected to be completed by the Alliance’s next Summit towards the end of the year.
Around 340 delegates from allied and associated countries are attending the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s spring session from May 28 to June 1. The full programme is available at http://www.nato-pa.int/default.asp?SHORTCUT=2014.