Latvian defense minister: We are one step from using NATO Treaty Article 4

NATO battle group's military parade at Tapa Army Base. April 20, 2017.
NATO battle group's military parade at Tapa Army Base. April 20, 2017.

Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks said the country is "currently one step from invoking Article 4 of the NATO Treaty" over the migrant situation on the Belarusian and Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian borders, public broadcaster LSM reported on Tuesday.

Pabriks told Latvian Radio it has been agreed the countries will support each other if one of them wants to start consultations under Article 4.

"We will be united in this requirement, but until yesterday evening this desire was not expressed in any country, because we do not want to take advantage of these opportunities to involve NATO. We are awaiting the continued behavior of the representatives of Belarus and Russia," he said.

The counties are still waiting because they believe that the situation is still in progress, but the situation may be changing rapidly.

Estonia has said it will support the countries if they decide to trigger Article 4.

The presidents of all three countries and Estonia's President Alar Karis discussed the issue on Monday in Vilnius. Karis said: "All of us support addressing NATO, if there is a need, in order to find the solution."

What is NATO's Article 4?

Article 4 of NATO's founding treaty says:

"The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened."

Any member country can formally invoke Article 4.

As soon as it is invoked, the issue is discussed and can potentially lead to some form of joint decision or action on behalf of the Alliance.

Whatever the scenario, fellow members sitting around the Council table are encouraged to react to a situation brought to their attention by a member country.

Since the Alliance's creation in 1949, Article 4 has been invoked six times. The last time was February 28, 2020 by Turkey and the first time was in 2003, also by Turkey.

You can read more information about article 4 on the NATO website here


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Editor: Helen Wright

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