Defence Minister Raimonds Bergmanis will make a working visit to the UK on 27-28 June.
During visit to the UK, on 27 June, Minister Bergmanis will meet with Gavin Williamson, the UK’s Defence Secretary, and Mark Sedwill, the UK’s National Security Adviser, to discuss bilateral defence cooperation, international and regional security situation.
Minister will also visit the Daugava Hawks Foundation house in London to discuss the current regional security situation and other issues with Latvian diaspora in the UK.
On 28 June, representatives of Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) member states, including Latvia’s defence minister, will sign a Comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding (C-MOU). Signing of the C-MOU will mark the full operational capability of JEF and complete the creation of the force. C-MOU also envisages development and upgrade of Joint Expeditionary Force, laying down the principles of cooperation, obligations and responsibilities of participating countries.
Creation of Joint Expeditionary Force is the UK’s initiative announced during the NATO Wales Summit when a Memorandum of Understanding between ministers of participating countries was signed and JEF was established. Creation of JEF’s structure began in September of 2014 when member states agreed on individual tasks and objectives. On 30 November 2015, seven participating countries, the UK, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway, met in the UK to sign the agreement for establishing the Joint Expeditionary Force. Finland and Sweden joined the initiative in 2017.
The objective behind the establishment of JEF is to create high readiness, trained and equipped force, which is capable of responding to all kinds of conflicts and, as necessary, participate in the UN, NATO or EU-led operations. British troops form the core of the JEF, but the structure of the force is flexible to allow partner countries willing to engage in particular operations join the force. Initiative stems from the ambition to build upon the experience gained through international operations and desire to promote interoperability.
The main benefit of joining Joint Expeditionary Force for Latvia is the opportunity to deepen cooperation with Great Britain and continue the development of National Armed Force capabilities. JEF also gives Latvia opportunity to take part in international operations on regular basis, thus enabling development of practical partnerships and new capabilities necessary for enhanced interoperability of participating country forces.
As reported earlier, training of JEF was conducted from 21 April until 3 May at the Salisbury Plain Training Area, UK. Latvia participated in the training with 80 troops from Land Force Mechanised Infantry Brigade, 19 Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) units (CVR(T)) and other military vehicles.
UK is one of the key defence cooperation partners of Latvia and has had a significant input in promoting the development of Latvian Armed Forces.
Inter-governmental procurement agreement between Latvia and the UK was signed in September of 2014. According to the agreement, Land Force Mechanised Infantry Brigade will receive from British Armed Forces 123 Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) units. CVR(T)s will be delivered in stages until 2020.
Latvian and British soldiers regularly participate in joint military exercise. There is also a successful cooperation between the youth guard organisations of Latvia and Great Britain.
Photos from JEF training in the UK: https://www.flickr.com/photos/latvijas_armija/sets/72157693251966872
Photo: Sgt Ēriks Kukutis
Media Relations Section
Military Public Affairs Department
Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia