Strategic partnership between the United States and the Baltic countries is reaffirmed
23 August, Riga. President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden. The President of Latvia, Raimonds Vējonis, and the President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, also attended the meeting. According to the President, it is symbolic that this meeting takes place as Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia commemorate the 27th anniversary of the Baltic Way. “Today the Baltic states and the United States of America are ready to reaffirm their strategic partnership. It has been valid for many years now, and we are confident that regardless of the changes that might take place after the presidential election in the United States, the U.S. commitments to NATO and the Baltic states will remain strong,” the President said.
Vice President Joseph Biden reassured the people of the Baltic countries that the United States is firmly and honestly committed to Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, enshrining the principles of collective defense.
The four-party high level meeting focused on strengthening the security of the Baltic states and the entire region, and building up the national resilience of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia against threats. The U.S. intended contribution to deterrence measures in the NATO’s eastern flank as well as energy and nuclear security issues were also discussed.
The meeting issued a Joint Declaration on Increased Security and Defense Cooperation between the United States, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, reaffirming the strategic alliance between the Baltic countries and the United States of America. Special focus has been placed on the importance of the U.S. presence for regional security, defense and deterrence as well as on the implementation of the Warsaw Summit commitment to invest in robust, flexible, and interoperable military capabilities.
The declaration states that building national resilience, bolstering the ability to respond to hybrid and cyber threats, energy security, border protection, enhancing political will, improving civil preparedness, and effective protection of critical infrastructure are among the essential priorities of cooperation between the Baltic countries and the U.S.
The President underscored that the U.S. strong political will to continue an active European foreign policy and its significant military presence in our region is a very significant deterrence measure. According to the President, it will not only prevent possible military provocations and aggression, but will also contribute to resolving the Suwalki corridor problem. Strong U.S. leadership is necessary to build a regional air defense system.
The U.S. has repeatedly stated that security of the Baltic states is in its national interest, backing its security guarantees by concrete actions to promote security in the three Baltic countries. In Warsaw, the U.S. affirmed its intention to deploy a brigade of troops in the region; it is actively involved in military exercises to improve interoperability and communication with the Baltic states and other allies. In 2017, the United States will allocate 3.4 billion U.S. dollars to strengthen security in Europe through a special financial instrument, the European Reassurance Initiative.
According to the President, Lithuania is consistently reinforcing its defense capabilities by modernizing its military capabilities, enhancing infrastructure and increasing budgetary resources for national defense.
The President pointed out that the Belarusian nuclear power plant in Astravets, currently constructed in Lithuania’s neighborhood, violated international security standards and had already seen multiple incidents.
According to the President, the unsafe Astravets nuclear power plant can be used against the Baltic states and the entire region in an unconventional way. It is therefore necessary for the international community to use all the means that are at its disposal for the project to be implemented in a transparent manner, in strict observation of the security requirements, or altogether suspended.
Press Service of the President