Latvia to Host NATO Summit 2006

Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga announced Wednesday that NATO will hold its first summit in a former Soviet Republic next November in Riga. She stated that being selected to host the summit – which was suggested by the U.S. to promote NATO modernization and military transformation – “is proof of Latvia’s full maturity and political weight.” The meeting of leaders of NATO’s 26 member countries would be the largest political event the Baltic country has ever hosted; the Latvian government has budgeted nearly $17 million for the event, much of which will be used to upgrade Riga’s infrastructure.