THE BALTIC TIMES, 13 June 2017
RIGA – The presence of the US in the Baltic region has been and will be critically important, said Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis during his meeting with the Chief of US National Guard Bureau, General Joseph L. Lengyel and General of the National Guard Gregory J. Vadnais today.
President’s Chancellery reported that Vejonis had confirmed the US is Latvia’s closest cooperation partner in strengthening the country’s defense capabilities and the US presence in Latvia is highly appreciated.
The role of the US presence in the Baltic is also demonstrated by the present military exercise Saber Strike 2017 lead by the US. It is important to improve knowledge and skills of the troops, as without them, there is no use of even the most modern technology, said Vejonis.
Vejonis believes that as the security situation in the world is changing, international cooperation plays an even greater role. Latvia next year will increase its defense budget to 2 percent of the gross domestic product, development of the armed forces continues, and the US is ensuring invaluable support to Latvia in this process.
Lengyel said during the meeting that cooperation with Latvia is also important for the US, and much has been done during the past 24 years. He underscored that the US resolution in cooperation on security is sincere and convincing, and the US presence in the Baltics is strengthening.
This can also be said about cooperation with the Michigan National Guard lead by Vadnais. In more than 20 years very important projects have been implemented through this cooperation, the President’s Chancellery said.