The head of the Ministry Artis Pabriks called for the permanent presence of U.S. troops in Latvia and expressed the hope that Canada would also approve the presence of troops in the Baltic Republic on a permanent basis.

Latvia expects that the American parliament will approve a program of assistance to it, which will allow the Baltic Republic to purchase modern weapons systems. This was stated on Monday by Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks during a remote discussion at the American analytical center “German Marshall Fund.”

“For example, all three Baltic countries would very much like to buy the HIMARS multiple launch rocket system from the United States, but it is quite expensive, so if the Congress or the [U.S.] Senate would support us, we would be very grateful,” the minister said.

According to Pabriks, in the long term, Latvia would like to receive a Patriot-type anti-aircraft missile system and a coast guard system. He called for the permanent presence of U.S. troops in Latvia and expressed the hope that Canada would also approve the presence of troops in the Baltic Republic on a permanent basis.

“We expect that the Canadian Parliament will politically support this mission [in Latvia] for as long as we need,” Pabriks said. According to him, he discussed this issue during a recent meeting with Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand.

In June 2017, a multinational NATO battalion led by Canada was deployed in Latvia. The decision to deploy combat groups in the Baltic States and Poland was made at the NATO summit in Warsaw in July 2016. The number of NATO groups in Latvia is about 1.5 thousand soldiers. It consists of military personnel from Albania, Spain, Iceland, Italy, Canada, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Montenegro and the Czech Republic, who serve in this Baltic Republic on a rotational basis.