THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 3, 2014
FACT SHEET: The United States and Latvia – NATO Allies and Global Partners
President Obama, Latvian President Andris Bērziņš, and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė participated in a joint meeting hosted by Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves in Tallinn on September 3. Their discussions underscored the close ties between the United States and the Baltic states, which are grounded in our shared values, ideals, and interests.
The leaders highlighted ongoing cooperation in the following areas:
Defense and Security Cooperation
- Operation ATLANTIC RESOLVE: In light of the Russian military intervention in Ukraine, the United States is demonstrating its continued commitment to collective security through a series of actions designed to reassure NATO Allies and partners of America’s dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region. As a first response to demonstrate our commitment to the defense of our Allies, the U.S. augmented its participation in Baltic Air Policing by sending an additional six F-15s to the NATO mission. Under operation ATLANTIC RESOLVE, U.S. Army Europe forces have deployed to Latvia, along with other Allies in the region, to conduct land forces training. U.S. and Latvian troops participate in a range of other joint and multilateral exercises, including SABER STRIKE, BALTOPS, and STEADFAST JAZZ. Latvian soldiers and defense personnel also receive technical training and strategic education in the United States.
- NATO Allies: As NATO allies, the United States and Latvia are committed to each other’s defense and partner in critical areas around the world. Latvia contributes important capabilities to the Alliance’s collective security, including the training of U.S.-certified joint terminal attack controllers (JTAC) who coordinate air support for ground units during operations.
- The State Partnership Program: Latvia has partnered with the Michigan National Guard since 1993. The program has brought together hundreds of Guard personnel and their Latvian counterparts through training and outreach activities. Latvia and the Michigan National Guard are also joint providers of military assistance to Liberia through a program to train non-commissioned officers.
- Afghanistan: Latvia is a stalwart supporter of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan and has committed to continue supporting NATO’s post-2014 non-combat mission. Latvia contributed to a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Faryab province and was deployed to the Nordic-Baltic Task Force in Mazar-e-Sharif. Additionally, Latvian Special Operations Forces continue to support the ISAF mission in Kabul. Riga is a key transit point along the Northern Distribution Network, which facilitates the transport of materiel to coalition troops in Afghanistan and serves as a retrograde route for materiel leaving the theater. Latvia has pledged $500,000 annually from 2015 to 2017 to support the Afghan National Security Forces.
- Cybersecurity: The government of Latvia has recognized the danger of increased cyber threats and is working together with NATO, the European Union, the Baltic states, Nordic states, and the United States to strengthen its cybersecurity. The United States supports Latvia’s efforts through visits by U.S. experts and Latvian participation in EUCOM- and NATO-sponsored events and U.S.-based training. The government of Latvia is also a partner in the Freedom Online Coalition, a group of governments collaborating to advance Internet freedom.
Diplomatic Cooperation and Global Development
- Development Cooperation: The United States and Latvia share interests in promoting democracy, development and the rule of law in Central Asia. Through the Emerging Donors Challenge Fund, the United States and Latvia are co-financing a project in Uzbekistan to enhance export control and border security capabilities. Through the Community of Democracies, the United States and Latvia are co-financing a project to promote human rights and build capacity to prevent domestic violence and support victims in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
- Eastern Partnership: Along with the United States, Latvia places great emphasis on assisting the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries and have highlighted it as one of their priorities for its EU Presidency in 2015. Latvia’s efforts in this area have included supporting land registration modernization in Azerbaijan; conducting border guard training in Belarus and Georgia, in conjunction with Estonia and Lithuania; and providing training to the Georgian armed forces. Additionally, Latvia conducts economic development and rule of law projects in Moldova through the U.S.-Latvia Agreement on Supporting Justice Sector Reform in Moldova, which was signed in June 2012.
- Global Cooperation: Latvia has been a strong ally in advancing human rights and democratic values around the world. Latvia supports the work of the Lifeline: Embattled Civil Society Organizations Assistance Fund and has pledged to make a financial contribution. Latvia has taken a leading role in encouraging democratic reforms and helping Eastern Partnership countries Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine integrate more fully into European institutions.