On 12 July 2021, at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, the Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, had a meeting with the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, to discuss the outcomes of the NATO Brussels Summit, the upcoming meeting of the NATO Foreign Affairs Ministers in Riga, and the international security situation in the region and across the globe.
During the meeting, Edgars Rinkēvičs welcomed the successful NATO Brussels Summit this past June, which reaffirmed transatlantic unity and determination to continue strengthening the Alliance in the coming decade. The Minister thanked the Secretary General for his personal contribution in leading the NATO 2030 process. The Latvian Foreign Minister expressed support for increasing the overall NATO funding and the readiness of NATO forces, which is vital under current geopolitical conditions.
The Foreign Minister and the Secretary General discussed the meeting of the NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs planned for this coming December. The officials also shared opinions on the review of the NATO Strategic Concept. The Minister noted that the concept should be comprehensive in view of the various threats and challenges. At the same time, the existing security environment calls for a focus on collective defence as NATO’s primary function. NATO’s central role of defence and deterrence should be retained, while being complemented with crisis management and partnership.
In a discussion on security challenges, Edgars Rinkēvičs expressed the opinion that Russia’s aggressive military activities at the borders of the Baltic States and against Ukraine as well as its increasing military influence in Belarus are proof of security challenges impacting the region again and again. Russia’s upcoming strategic level military exercise this September, Zapad-2021, should also be closely followed and it raises further concerns in light of the complicated situation today in Belarus.