Courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia
June 10, 2015

On 10 June, the Ambassador of the United States to NATO, Douglas E. Lute, made a visit to Latvia. Ambassador Lute met with the Andrejs Pildegovics, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Janis Sarts, State Secretary of the Ministry of Defence.

The officials discussed the security situation in the region and the measures undertaken by the United States of America and other NATO allies to reinforce collective defence for Latvia and other Baltic States. Andrejs Pildegovics expressed his appreciation and thanks for the U.S. contribution and military presence in the region.

The U.S. Ambassador to NATO reiterated the significance of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty and security guarantees offered to all NATO member countries, including the position voiced by U.S. President in Tallinn last year that the defence of the Baltic capitals is just as important as the defence of the Western capitals. NATO forces will remain in our region – in the air, at sea and on land – as long as necessary, he said.

The officials were of one mind that the NATO Wales Summit decisions on strengthening the Alliance’s defence and response capabilities should be implemented fully while preparing for the upcoming NATO Summit in Poland in 2016. At the same time, Latvian officials indicated that defence funding will be steadily increased; this is currently one of the Latvian Government’s priorities. The need for the allied unity and solidarity was also emphasised.

After the meetings with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence, US Ambassador to NATO will meet in Adazi with the Commander of the National Armed Forces, Raimonds Graube, as well as observing Saber Strike 2015, a military exercise that takes place annually.

The Adazi military base is hosting the Saber Strike tactical field exercise with participation of troops from the United States of America, the three Baltic States, Denmark, Norway and Finland.

Douglas E. Lute was sworn-in as the Ambassador of the United States to NATO in August 2013. From 2007 to 2013, he served at the White House, first as the Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan, and more recently as the Deputy Assistant to the President focusing on Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. In 2010, Ambassador Lute retired from the U.S. Army as a lieutenant general after 35 years on active duty. Prior to the White House, he served as the Director of Operations on the Joint Staff, overseeing U.S. military operations worldwide. He served multiple tours in NATO commands including commanding U.S. forces in Kosovo. He holds degrees from the United States Military Academy and Harvard University.