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USA and Baltic States prepare for upcoming summit in Washington

Edgars Rinkēvičs/flickr.com.
To discuss preparations for the upcoming US-Baltic summit in Washington this spring, Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs together with his colleagues from Lithuania and Estonia met with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on 5 March.

Rinkēvičs said Baltic States are unified in their stance against Nord Stream 2, which, he said, has a clear geopolitical goal in mind – increasing dependence on a single supplier. This does not fit with EU Energy Union’s principles, which dictate energy security, varied supply sources and fair competition. «Latvia support quick approval of EU Gas Directive amendments to ensure quick accomplishment of goals detailed in the Energy Union agreement, improve function of Europe’s internal gas market and create legislative clarity in relation to existing and planned pipeline projects from third countries,» said the minister.

During the meeting, officials discussed matters of energy security. Rinkēvičs welcomed increased gas exports from USA and the growth of the global market in general. «Thanks to market reforms and infrastructure projects, Baltic States now have an opportunity to diversify gas supplies. The first supplies of liquefied natural from USA have been received. The price is now close to prices offered by western European countries,» said the minister.

«The threat of a hybrid war has become a serious challenge for Baltic States, Europe and NATO. Intensity of information campaigns and cyber-attacks is on a rise. We have noticed attempts to influence elections in Europe, which creates risks for countries’ internal stability and unity. Baltic States continue improving their defensive capabilities against cyber-attacks and information campaigns. We have experience dealing with cyber-security, strategic communication, energy security and other types of threats,» said the minister.

He proposed continuing the development of cooperation between Baltics and USA in the field of cyber-security by expanding information exchange, training and coverage, as well as ensuring more direct involvement from the private sector.

Rinkēvičs affirmed Baltic States’ support for the international coalition in the fight against terrorism. The minister added that Baltic States participate in NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.


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