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Merkel calls for reinforcing Baltic defense infrastructure

August 18, 2014, 20:21 UTC+3 RIGA
“We can guarantee that if Latvia gets into a difficult situation it will get direct support from NATO. This is our duty and we will fulfil it,” Merkel says
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Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma (L), German chancellor Angela Merkel (R)

Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma (L), German chancellor Angela Merkel (R)

© EPA/TOMS NORDE/LATVIA GOVERNMENT PRESS SERVICE

RIGA, August 18. /ITAR-TASS/. The Baltic region’s defense infrastructure should be reinforced in connection with the situation in Ukraine, German chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday.

“The security level in connection with the situation in Ukraine has weakened,” she said after talks with Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma.

“I understand the concern of residents of Latvia, other Baltic states and Poland. I’d like to emphasize again that the fifth paragraph of the NATO agreement on mutual support is not only theory. This is the agreement that must be fulfilled if necessary and we should be ready for this. The preparation for this must be more intensive that we had thought just a few years ago,” Merkel said.

The German chancellor said “everything must be done to provide the Baltic countries with the needed infrastructure, which will ensure quick response.” “We will talk on this at the forthcoming NATO summit. Germany is ready to make its contribution to meet the security needs of residents of Latvia and other Baltic countries. When I talk to our Romanian partners I see that there is also certain concern in the South Europe region,” she said.

“Our possible measures will be not long-term deployment of combat units, rather strengthening of co-operation by other means,” the German chancellor said. “We can guarantee that if Latvia gets into a difficult situation it will get direct support from NATO. This is our duty and we will fulfil it,” Merkel said.

“Today, all of us are interested in the developments in Ukraine,” Straujuma said for her part. “Russia’s actions have fundamentally changed the security environment in Europe. Confidence is lost. We think that together we should adapt to the new situation and we should give a clear-cut response. I told the German chancellor earlier that the real presence of the [NATO] allies in the region is needed,” the Latvian prime minister said.

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