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The spring session of NATO Parliamentary Assembly began in Riga today, with participation of more than 300 MPs from 28 member states, associated and partner states and organisations. 

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly spring session was opened with the press conference of Vice-President of the Assembly Sven Mikser and Head of the Latvian delegation to the NATO PA Vaira Paegle this morning. Mikser focused briefly on the new Strategic Concept of NATO which had been prepared with his participation as NATO PA Special Rapporteur and he had given the document to Secretary General of NATO with approval of the Assembly Standing Committee on 13 April. The report highlights the principle of collective defence and the need to discuss new security threats within the framework of Article 4 of the Washington Treaty as the central task of NATO. As one priority, he mentioned the deterrence function of NATO, including maintaining of credible nuclear deterrence.
 
Mikser stressed that it is especially the task of MPs of the Alliance to ensure that sufficient public support to the Alliance and its activities both in the territory of its member states and in foreign operations be maintained in all member states.
 
At the spring session in Riga, the situation in Afghanistan is discussed as priority issues. The importance of this topic is proved by the fact that several Committees of the Assembly discuss it at their sittings. The Defence and Security Committee hears a report on the progress of building Afghan National Security Forces. The Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security looks at Afghanistan from the aspect of building of government structures, local governments. The Political Committee hears US Assistant Secretary of Defence for International Security Affairs Alexander Vershbow on the topic of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
 
The Economics and Security Committee discusses the continuing global financial crisis. The Science and Technology Committee discusses opportunities to stop the rapidly growing armament and the strategy towards Russia.
 
The assembly culminates with plenary session on Tuesday, where Prime Minister of Latvia Valdis Dombrovskis and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will speak.
 
On 30 May, the ceremony of donation of books to the Security and Defence Fund of the new National Library of Latvia by delegations of member states will take place. Head of NATO PA Delegation of the Riigikogu Mati Raidma will give the book “The politics of becoming European: a study of Polish and Baltic Post-Cold War security imaginaries (New International Relations)” by Maria Mälksoo.
 
At the meeting of the Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security, Raidma will also make a report on his recent visit to Afghanistan. Member of the Riigikogu Kadri Simson is also a member of the Estonian delegation.
 
NATO Parliamentary Assembly is an organisation which unites legislators of NATO member states which was established in 1955.
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
 
 
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