Bush meets Baltic leaders

10/01/2019 Posted by admin

In an interview on Latvian television Mr Bush said America would defend Latvia against any attack by outside forces, comments which could anger Russia.

The president said Latvia’s security is guaranteed by the United States and all members of NATO, which Latvia joined last year.

When asked whether Russia posed a threat to its neighbours, Mr Bush said: “We will stand with Latvia if a larger country tries to intimidate the people.”

“That’s a great thing about Latvia joining NATO, that the security is now guaranteed by not only the United States but all members of NATO,” Mr Bush said.

The president said he has often discussed Latvian-Russian relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I speak about relations between Russia and Latvia quite frequently, and my job at times is to send a message that says treat your neighbours with respect,” he said.

Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga said Mr Bush’s visit was a powerful sign that the US shared a common vision of post-WWII history with the Baltic states.

“By coming to Latvia, US President George Bush has underscored the double meaning of the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War,” Ms Vike-Freiberga told reporters.

May 9, 1945 marked the start of nearly 50 years of Soviet occupation of the Baltic states.

Mr Bush is to hold bilateral talks with Ms Vike-Freiberga before a summit with her and the leaders of the other two Baltic states, Arnold Ruutel of Estonia and Valdas Adamkus of Lithuania.

Mr Bush will then fly to the Netherlands to pay tribute to American soldiers who died in WWII, before attending ceremonies in Moscow to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the war.

The last leg of his visit will take him to Georgia for talks with US-educated President Mikhail Saakashvili.

Baltic leaders want Moscow to formally apologise for the annexation and atrocities committed in the name of Stalinism.

Mr Bush acknowledged in a letter to President Vike-Freiberga that the end of WWII marked the start of Soviet occupation of the Baltic states, a move which irked Mr Putin who says Moscow has already condemned its past occupation.

Comments are closed.