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Strengthening the Transatlantic Alliance: The View From Riga

Recorded on April 23, 2008

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium

The United States played a leading role in the restoration of Latvia's independence 17 years ago.  In 2004, U.S. leadership was further highlighted when Latvia became an active member of NATO, one of the most successful security alliances in history.  The U.S. continues to contribute greatly to the liberty, prosperity and security of the Baltic Sea region.

President Zatlers will share his views on the outcome and impact of the recent NATO summit in Bucharest.  As one of the leaders who demonstrated unwavering support for the aspirations of Georgia and Ukraine, President Zatlers actively urged that both countries be granted formal participation in NATO's Membership Action Plan.  President Zatlers will stress the vital role of the transatlantic partnership in the 21st Century as well as the need to advance energy security.  Additionally, he will address the importance of ongoing efforts to modernize and strengthen the U.S. Visa Waiver Program for enhancing, not only international air travel security cooperation, but also assuring the continued advancement of tourism, commerce and international goodwill between trusted allies.     

Latvia celebrates the 90th anniversary of the proclamation of its independence this year.  In January 2008, Latvia and the United States marked the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the U.S.-Baltic Charter of Partnership, which represents our nations' commitment to common values of liberty, democracy, human rights and free markets.  Today, Latvia and the U.S. are close allies in addressing global security threats as well as supporting new democracies in their reform process.  April 23-25, 2008 marks the first visit of President Zatlers to the United States after his inauguration as President of Latvia on July 8, 2007.