Russia's Foreign Ministry said Russia would not sign the border treaty with Latvia due to what it considers to be Latvia's territorial claims on Russia.
A ministry spokesman, Alexander Yakovenko, said, "As regards Latvia, serious complications have arisen with the so called explanatory declaration adopted by the Latvian government which... actually presents territorial claims on Russia. In these circumstances, as long as that declaration is not recalled, signing of the border treaty will not be possible."
As early as a month ago Latvia and Russia voiced readiness to sign the border treaty May 10. However, later Russia said it might not sign the border treaty if Latvia's declaration is attached to it.
Latvian Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks said told state radio Saturday that talks with Russia would continue regardless of such a position of the neighboring state. "I have not studied in detail that document, but we will take further steps as planned 's namely, we will continue talks with the Russian party. We will look also for other possibilities how to change Russia's opinion."
He said the declaration adopted by Latvia just two weeks before plans to sign the treaty is intended to comply to Latvia's laws and national interests.
"You see, this is not a question only of signing or not signing of the border treaty. Actually, it is the question on how we can coordinate our political wish with Latvia's laws and Latvia's national interests. In my opinion the Russian party must understand it if it indeed wants to close this border treaty with Latvia," said Pabriks.
Asked if he still would go to Moscow on May 10 after Russia's statement, Pabriks said, "I will have nothing to do there on May 10 if this rejection is like this."
Yakovenko said that Russia is ready to sign the border treaty with Estonia. He did not rule out the signing could take place during the visit of Estonia's foreign minister to Moscow on May 18.