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Biden Says Washington Committed To Security Of Baltic States

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite (left) and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden addressing a joint press conference after the their meeting in Riga on August 23.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has assured Baltic countries that Washington would respect NATO's pledge to protect them.

Biden called on the presidents of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania not to take seriously statements by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who said recently that he might abandon NATO's pledge to automatically defend all alliance members if elected.

Speaking in the Latvian capital, Riga, on August 23, Biden dismissed Trump's comments and said there was overwhelming U.S. bipartisan commitment to NATO.

"It is important for us that we are ready, all parties, to confirm our strategic partnership ... and we are sure that no matter what changes will be after the elections in (the) United States, their commitments ... to NATO, to (the) Baltic region, will stay," said Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, speaking after Biden.

In July, NATO leaders agreed to deploy military forces to the three Baltic states and eastern Poland for the first time and increase air and sea patrols to reassure allies in the region worried about the threat from Russia.

Biden's visit to the Baltics coincided with the 77th anniversary of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact on August 23, 1939.

The pact carved up Eastern Europe between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union during World War II, including the annexation of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania by the Soviet Union in 1940.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP