: Latvia to increase defence budget to two per cent of GDP

15:08 Apr. 13, 2016

Latvia to increase defence budget to two per cent of GDP

Ināra Mūrniece, Speaker of the Latvian Parliament. (Wikipedia Photo)

Latvia's parliament speaker says NATO summit should decide on increased military presence in the Baltics

The long-term military presence of NATO forces in the Baltic region should be discussed at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, said Ināra Mūrniece, Speaker of the Latvian Parliament, during her visit to the U.S.

"It is important for Latvia and the Baltic States as a whole to make sure that the upcoming Warsaw summit results in a decision to boost NATO military presence in the region," Mūrniece said. She also noted regular military drills in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia show the unity of the Alliance.

Read also U.S. analyst: Russia won't be able to conquer Latvia

"Latvia recognizes security challenges and is ready to increase its state defence budget to 2% of GDP. This move is supported not only by the parliament and government but also by the society," the Speaker added.

Read also Estonian PM says NATO presence in Baltics deters Russian invasion

The U.S. is Latvia's important strategic partner, and the Baltic state appreciates its support, especially in strengthening its defence sphere and border security, Mūrniece said.

The delegation of Latvia's parliament welcomed the proposition of the U.S. Administration to allocate USD 3.4mln to beef up E.U. security within the European Reassurance Initiative.

Read also NATO warships arrive in Riga, Latvia (photo gallery)

The NATO Summit will take place on 8-9 July 2016 in Warsaw, Poland.

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