Latvia invites Russia to sign border treaty in April

  • 2005-02-09
  • By The Baltic Times
RIGA 's Latvia threw Russia a diplomatic curve ball this week when the Foreign Minister invited Russia's Sergei Lavrov to Riga in March or April to sign a border treaty.

Vaira Vike-Freiberga visit Moscow in May for the Victory Day celebrations. Vladimir Putin has suggested that the border agreement could be ready in time for May 9, but should Russia decline to make the April deadline, Vike-Freiberga would have reason to back out of her decision to go to Moscow.

Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks also called on Russia to hold political consultations in Riga Feb. 24 's March 4 in order to discuss economic, social and other agreements between the two states, as well as commencing the work of an intergovernmental commission.

Latvia has sent its own version of the political declaration to Russia as a response to the text offered by Moscow. Pabriks informed all EU foreign ministers and Luxembourg, current holder of EU presidency, about the memorandum Latvia had sent Russia on Wednesday.

"I have informed all Europe, all our allies about it," the minister said, noting that Latvia had also told the United States about its wish "to act pragmatically and to break the ice in these relations [with Russia]."

Pabriks pointed out the possible signing of the interstate declaration was in no way linked to the pending Latvian-Russian border treaty and other cooperation issues.

Speaking about the text, Pabriks said Latvia was aware that Russia is not ready to discuss history and the occupation of Latvia. "We understand that some things are still considered taboo by the Russian side, and they are not ready to debate them," Pabriks said.

Latvian-Russian relations have again become tense lately, especially after Vike-Freiberga released her declaration on the consequences of the World War II and the publication of a book on Latvia's 20th century history.