The Latvian government at a meeting on 2 September approved the Defence Ministry’s report about participation of the Armed Forces in the Joint Expeditionary Force, authorizing the defense minister to sign a letter of intent about this initiative.
Minister of Defence Raimonds Vejonis told that Latvia’s participation in the Joint Expeditionary Force would not require additional financing from the national budget and would be financed from the current defense allocations.
"The main objective of this initiative is to create a force that would react rapidly to any crisis, including on the orders from NATO, the EU and the United Nations,”
The Joint Expeditionary Force will be a chance for the Latvian troops to cooperate continuously with not only the British but also the armed forces of other countries, thus improving their professional qualities. „This is very much needed, especially considering that Latvia is cutting back on its presence in different international operations. Such initiatives are needed for the soldiers to maintain their professionalism and skills,” the Latvian Minister of Defence said.
The letter of intent about creating the Joint Expeditionary Force will be signed during the NATO summit in Wales by all countries supporting the initiative. So far the three Baltic states, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Norway, Canada and Denmark have voiced support to this initiative, Vejonis said.
"We are willing to make a contribution in the size of at least one unit which means 150 men or more,”
the Minister of Defence said.
The announcement about the Joint Expeditionary Force is to be made during the Wales summit on September 4-5 when the defense ministers of the participating NATO member states are expected to sign a letter of intent on this initiative.
Latvia’s main gains from participation in the Joint Expeditionary Force would be more intensive cooperation with the United Kingdom as the leading nation of the new force and opportunities for regular participation in international military exercises, development of practical partnerships and new capacities.