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    NATO's service personnel during the Operation Summer Shield drill in Latvia. (File)

    Latvia's Defense Budget to Meet NATO 2% GDP Target in 2018 - President

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    Latvia will increase its defense capacity as a NATO member state, Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis stated on Monday.

    RIGA (Sputnik) — Latvia will continue to increase its defense capacity as a NATO member state, with the country's budget set to reach 2 percent of GDP in January 2018, Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis said Monday.

    "For our part, we will fulfill our obligations. In January 2018, our defense budget will amount to 2 percent of GDP. We will continue to increase our military capacity, which you will witness," Vejonis said, as sited on his website, at an arrival ceremony held for a NATO battle group at the Adazi military base.

    Vejonis noted that the increased presence of NATO in Latvia is a landmark event, proving solidarity between member states of the alliance. Vejonis also stressed the importance of building relations with Russia through dialogue.

    "Without dialogue we can't ensure good, secure and predictable long-term relations with Russia," Vejonis said.

    On Monday, the NATO multinational battle group, comprising of more than 1,100 servicemen from Canada, Albania, Italy, Poland, Slovenia and Spain, visited the reception ceremony in Adazi. The group is being led by Canada.

    NATO decided to deploy additional troops to the Baltic region during the July 2016 summit in Warsaw. Allies agreed to deploy four multinational battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Over a dozen NATO states will contribute troops to the mission.

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    Tags:
    budget, defense, NATO, Raimonds Vejonis, Latvia
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