Pabriks to ink border treaty

  • 2005-04-20
  • By TBT staff
RIGA - Latvian Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks announced that he could be the official signatory to Russia's bilateral border treaty, which will most likely happen on May 10 in Moscow during the EU-Russian summit.

"We have received an invitation from Russia to sign the border treaty on May 10 and I expect that the signing could be done on the proposed date," said Pabriks.

The government approved on April 26 that the foreign minister would sign the treaty.

During a Cabinet meeting behind closed doors, Parliament decided to de-classify the border treaty, passing a copy of the document on to journalists.

A declaration was added stating that Latvia refused to link the border treaty with compensation for the Baltic state's illegal occupation.

"Latvia declares that this treaty does not concern, does not reduce and does not deprive the state and its citizens from the rights and legal claims provided for them in accordance with the Latvian-Russian peace treaty of Aug. 11, 1920 and the international law," the declaration reads.

Following the meeting, Pabriks told the press that the practice of attaching similar declarations to border treaties was done internationally, and suggested by lawyers.

"There are cases in the international practice when both states need to achieve the result, but there are issues the two are unable to agree on as yet," said Pabriks.

He added that Latvia would have to return to the occupation issue when Russia was ready for it.

Pabriks also said that documents about the treaty's creation were classified, although the names of those involved with process would be made public.

Last week Russia announced it was ready to sign the border treaty with Latvia on May 10 in Moscow during the EU-Russian summit.

"The document is practically ready and is in the phase of final coordination," Sergei Yastrzhembsky, an aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin, told the press in Moscow on April 21.

In December 1997, the Latvian government, led by nationalist Prime Minister Guntars Krasts, approved the border treaty after preparing the document for more than a year and a half. Progress was achieved through talks only after Latvia gave up its demand for the document to include a reference to the 1920 peace agreement, which gave Latvia part of Abrene (now Russia's Pytalovo region). Latvia's nationalist Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK alliance objected to this concession strongly.