Harmony, Latvia's largest opposition party, has not terminated its cooperation agreement with Russia's leading political party United Russia, and is not planning on doing so now, according to the leader of Harmony (and Mayor of Riga) Nils Usakovs.
A cooperation agreement offers an important opportunity to maintain a dialogue at a time when EU-Russia relations have hit a crisis, Usakovs claimed. "We have no plans on changing anything," he told LETA.
Meanwhile, Harmony deputy Boriss Cilevics said in an interview with Latvian Television this morning: "At the moment, this agreement is practically blocked due to clear circumstances. We believe that it is extremely important to maintain a dialogue, it is not an agreement on friendship or submission. The agreement is publicly available on our website. Anyone can read it and make sure that it concerns only consultations and dialogue. And we believe that taking into account the complicated relations between Latvia and Russia, every opportunity for dialogue ought to be taken advantage of, including on inter-party levels."
Party members later explained that Cilevics wanted to say that because of the complicated geopolitical situation between Russia and the EU, as well as sanctions, cooperation is hampered at the moment.
Harmony, generally regarded as a centre-left political party, holds 24 out of the 100 seats in the Latvian Saeima, a larger number than any other party. By far the most popular party among the country's ethnic Russians, Harmony signed a co-operation agreement with United Russia, the party of President Vladimir Putin, in 2009.