Latvia Supports U.S. Action to Disarm Saddam

The Cabinet of Ministers decided at an extraordinary session today to back disarming Saddam Hussein’s regime, and said that it was ready to take immediate part in tackling the crisis, including sending military specialists to Iraq.

Latvia will support a military operation to disarm Iraq, even if such an operation is not backed by the United Nations Security Council, Minister of Defense Girts Valdis Kristovskis told LETA. “A coalition for disarming Iraq is being formed. Leading nations have called on
Latvia to legalize its stance,” the minister said.

After the government’s session, Prime Minister Einars Repse delivered an emotional speech to the press, calling to mind historic events. Disarming Iraq has entered a new stage, and Latvia must express its support for development of democracy and peace, he said.

A small unit of special forces soldiers would be considered in this case, said Repse, adding that they would not take part in military action but start work during the second stage of the operation. The unit would include field engineers, medics, and suchlike.

Since sending Latvia’s soldiers to Iraq must be approved by Saeima,
the government prepared a bill today. A Saeima extraordinary meeting will be held at 3 p.m. tomorrow to vote on Latvian soldiers’ participation in possible military move against Iraq.