Czech Repub­lic and Slo­vakia may add to NATO’s bat­tal­ion in Latvia this sum­mer

The Czech Repub­lic and Slo­vakia may add to the NATO bat­tal­ion sta­tioned in Latvia at the be­gin­ning of sum­mer 2018, as con­firmed by Lat­vian De­fence Min­is­ter Rai­monds Bergma­nis.

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The min­is­ter said that Czech and Slo­vak troops will ex­pand the com­bat group, not re­place any of the rep­re­sented coun­tries. He re­frained from men­tion­ing any pre­cise num­ber of troops, say­ing that this mat­ter is for the afore­men­tioned coun­tries to clar­ify. Dur­ing his visit to Brus­sels, Bergma­nis par­tic­i­pated in a meet­ing of NATO De­fence Min­is­ters and the di­a­logue or­ga­nized by Cana­dian Min­is­ter of Na­tional De­fence Har­jit Saj­jan for mem­ber states of the ex­panded NATO com­bat group in Latvia.

Aside from Canada and Latvia, this meet­ing was also at­tended by Al­ba­nia, Italy, Spain, Slove­nia, Poland, Czech Repub­lic and Slo­vakia. The sides dis­cussed the pres­ence of the multi-na­tional bat­tal­ion in Latvia and fu­ture steps in strength­en­ing com­bat ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Cana­dian min­is­ter men­tioned dur­ing the meet­ing that the NATO com­bat group will re­main in Latvia for as long as nec­es­sary. He also men­tioned that the multi-na­tional char­ac­ter of the com­bat group is a strate­gic mes­sage for NATO’s unity and abil­ity to act. Bergma­nis ex­pressed his grat­i­tude for con­tin­ued pres­ence of NATO in Latvia and its grow­ing con­nec­tiv­ity with the coun­try’s na­tional armed forces. Latvia’s De­fence Min­is­ter also thanked coun­tries that pro­vided troops for the multi-na­tional bat­tal­ion, adding that the es­tab­lished geopo­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion al­lows Latvia and its al­lies find ef­fec­tive so­lu­tions to help in­crease joint se­cu­rity.

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