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article imageTrudeau to visit Latvia ahead of NATO summit

By AFP     Jul 3, 2018 in Politics

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will fly to Latvia for a two-day visit starting July 9, ahead of the NATO summit in Brussels, his office said Tuesday.

In addition to holding talks in Riga with Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis and President Raimonds Vejonis, Trudeau is also set to visit the Canadian-led multinational NATO Enhanced Forward Presence battlegroup based in the country.

The battlegroup "plays a key role in Canada's efforts, together with Allies and partner countries, to maintain stability and security in Central and Eastern Europe," a statement said.

Canada has deployed some 450 troops for the mission, dubbed Operation Reassurance, its largest sustained military presence in Europe in more than a decade.

NATO deployed four battalion-sized battlegroups in eastern Europe in a deterrence and defense posture following Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The other three are based in Estonia, Lithuania and Poland and are led by Britain, Germany and the United States, respectively.

It will be the first ever bilateral visit by a Canadian head of government to Latvia, Trudeau's office added.

Trudeau will then head to Brussels for the NATO summit on July 11 and 12.

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