Today, Deputy Secretary Bob Work met with Latvia’s Minister of Defense Raimonds Vejonis at the Pentagon. During the 30 minute meeting, the leaders talked about defense priorities and ongoing measures demonstrating U.S. and allied commitment to the Baltic region.
Work and Vejonis discussed the importance of clear NATO unity against Russian aggression, continued presence of U.S. forces in the region, and ways to work together to better support NATO deterrence measures.
Work applauded the steps taken by Latvia to increase readiness and procure new systems that address vulnerabilities and increase capability. Additionally, Work lauded Vejonis’ commitment to raise defense spending to 2 percent of GDP and the increase manning in the Latvian Armed Forces by 2,000 personnel by 2018.
The deputy secretary thanked the minister for his continued leadership and Latvia’s record of commitment in operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Balkans.
Work stressed the U.S. will continue to work with the Baltic States to support regional cooperation, interoperability with Allies, and long-term defense modernization.
In addition to meetings in Washington, D.C., Vejonis visited Fort Stewart, Ga. to meet with leadership of the 3rd Infantry Division, which currently has a company deployed to Latvia under Operation Atlantic Resolve.
This was Work’s first meeting with the defense minister.
Release No: NR-145-15
April 23, 2015