Latvian president officially opens new offices of NATO COE Stratcom in Riga
Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis on Thursday officially opened the new offices of the NATO Centre of Excellence for Strategic Communications (COE Stratcom) in the Latvian capital Riga.
Vejonis cut the ribbon during the inauguration ceremony and said that COE Stratcom would have a great role to play in the future.
"Every day there is a battle going on over people’s hearts and minds therefore strategic communications will play a great role in the future,” he said.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by many foreign officials, including US Senator John McCain, the chairman of the US Senate Armed Services Committee ; US Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and John Barrasso; and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite.
The Lithuanian president said that NATO could handle any challenges. She said it was symbolic that each of the three Baltic states hosted a NATO Center of Excellence.
Grybauskaite said she believed that international efforts would help the NATO COE Stratcom to be successful. The Lithuanian president said she was honored to attend the inauguration ceremony in Riga.
Hybrid war can be successful where there is weakness - Riga-based NATO COE Stratcom head
Hybrid war can be successful where the weak points are clear, said Janis Sarts, the director of the NATO Centre of Excellence for Strategic Communications (COE Stratcom), which is based in the Latvian capital Riga.
He said that there had been different factors present in Ukraine that allowed for successful implementation of hybrid war in this country.
Sarts also said that it is important to detect those factors that would help to develop hybrid war, and tackle them. One of the ways to do that would be the NATO Centre of Excellence for Strategic Communications.
"There is no equivalent for the NATO Centre of Excellence for Strategic Communications in the world," he said.
Latvia would be complicated target for terrorists - NATO COE Stratcom head.
If any of the world's terrorist organizations decided to attack Latvia, it would be a complicated target, said Janis Sarts. He said that there is no natural community in Latvia in which terrorists might find people with their current methods who might wish to conduct such operations.
At the same time, he rejected a possibility that this might become possible after arrival of refugees from Africa.
"The problem appears in about the third generation, and I assume we have learned from experience of other countries and will be able to avoid repetition of the same problems as France or the UK," said Sarts.
The Latvian government at an extraordinary meeting in early July agreed that over two years Latvia would voluntary admit 250 refugees from Africa who need to be relocated within the EU. The Latvian ministries and local governments now have to work together to develop an integration policy to be implemented in the coming years.
The NATO Centre of Excellence for Strategic Communications was launched in Latvia on October 1, 2014. The purpose of COE Stratcom is to support and strengthen the Alliance’s strategic communications capabilities. Its task is to work out proposals and possible ways of action to improve strategic communications, to organize research and develop training, as well as give any other support in line with the alliance's priorities and tasks set in this field.