Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen to visit Estonia and Latvia from 12-17 May

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Singapore's Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen attends the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing, China October 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee
Singapore's Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen attends the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing, China in 2019. (PHOTO: Reuters)

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen will make an official visit to Tallinn, Estonia and Riga, Latvia from Thursday (12 May) to next Tuesday.

Dr Ng will meet Estonian leaders in Tallinn and speak at the 15th Lennart Meri Conference, a security and foreign policy conference held annually in Estonia that brings together policymakers and analysts from around the world.

In Riga, Dr Ng will hold bilateral meetings with Latvian leaders and officials, and visit defence research establishments.

His visit comes amid heightened fears in the Baltic states following the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia on 24 February. Several of the key agenda items at the conference are on the political, security and economic impact of the Ukraine war.

Estonia and Latvia, along with Lithuania, were forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union – the predecessor state of Russia – in 1940. Estonia and Latvia gained independence in 1991 while Lithuania declared independence in 1990.

The three Baltic states, each of which shares a border with Russia, have been members of the United States-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization since 2004. They have stepped up calls for more military support from their allies in recent months.

In an interview with NBC News in March, Estonian Foreign Affairs Minister Eva-Maria Liimets said, “It’s very important to see U.S. military presence in Europe, and we would also welcome U.S. troops here in Estonia, in addition to the other allied presence we have at the moment.”

The parliaments of Latvia and Estonia last month declared that Russian forces had committed acts of genocide by killing civilians in areas of Ukraine during the ongoing conflict.

The three Baltic states also stopped importing Russian natural gas from 1 April as European nations tried to lessen their dependence on Russian energy sources.

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