US, Baltic Presidents Meet at White House, Affirm 'Rock-Solid' Commitment (1)
The leaders of the US, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania held a joint press conference in Washington D.C. on August 30.
US President Barack Obama started and ended the briefing with the Syrian conflict, saying he had not yet made a decision on whether to militarily intervene, in light of allegations that the Syrian regime carried out a chemical weapons attack. "This kind of attack is a challenge to the world. We cannot accept a world where women and children and innocent civilians are gassed on a terrible scale," Obama said.
In his opening remarks, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves also brought up Syria: "For Estonia, the use of chemical weapons is deplorable. The attack demands a response."
Turning to US-Baltic relations, Obama said: "I want to thank all the Presidents who are here, and their nations, for all that they do to promote democracy not only in their own countries but around the world. The Baltics are among our most reliable allies in NATO, and our commitment to their security is rock-solid."
Ilves said: "We already cooperate in countries that lie to the east and the south of us - Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia, and Tunisia, as well, just to name a few. I am sure that this global cooperation aimed at helping countries transition from authoritarian to democratic rule will be expanded in the future."
The four presidents discussed economic and security cooperation and the rapid development of the Baltic countries since they gained independence from the Soviet Union in the 1990s.
In a joint statement, the leaders said: "The Baltic states remain grateful to the United States and the American people for their non-recognition policy during the Cold War. Our warm relations are anchored by close interpersonal ties and the rich contributions that the Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian diasporas have made to the multi-ethnic culture of the United States."