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Saturday, April 25, 2015

U.S.-LATVIAN DEFENSE OFFICIALS MEET TO DISCUSS PRIORITIES

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT
Deputy Secretary, Latvian Defense Minister Discuss Priorities
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2015 – During a 30-minute meeting at the Pentagon today, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work and Latvian Defense Minister Raimonds Vejonis talked about defense priorities and ongoing measures demonstrating U.S. and allied commitment to the Baltic region, Defense Department officials reported.

In a statement summarizing the meeting, officials said Work and Vejonis discussed the importance of clear NATO unity against Russian aggression, continued presence of U.S. forces in the region, and ways to work together to better support NATO deterrence measures.

“Work applauded the steps taken by Latvia to increase readiness and procure new systems that address vulnerabilities and increase capability,” the statement said. Work also lauded Vejonis's commitment to raise Latvia’s defense spending to 2 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product and to increase manning in the Latvian armed forces by 2,000 personnel by 2018, officials added.
Continued Leadership, Record of Commitment

The deputy secretary also thanked the minister for his continued leadership and Latvia's record of commitment in operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Balkans, the statement said.

Work stressed that the United States will continue to work with the Baltic States to support regional cooperation, interoperability with allies, and long-term defense modernization, officials said.

In addition to meetings in Washington, Vejonis visited Fort Stewart, Georgia, to meet with leadership of the 3rd Infantry Division, which has a company of soldiers deployed to Latvia under Operation Atlantic Resolve.

This was Work's first meeting with the defense minister, officials said.