Ainars Slesers wants to head Latvian 's Russian intergovernmental commission

  • 2006-10-20
  • By TBT staff
Latvia's former transport minister and leader of Latvia's First Party Ainars Slesers wants to head the Latvian-Russian intergovernmental commission, Latvia's Russian language daily Vesti Segdnya reported today [Oct. 20].

In an interview to the newspaper the Slesers said that, if he is appointed as co-chairman of the intergovernmental task force he would start tackling concrete problems. "It's obvious that border crossing points have to be expanded, and from both sides, " politician said. "Currently, the lines of trucks on the border are abnormal."

The former transport minister also mentioned the activation of transit capacities and improving logistics among future tasks. "Our ports are the commodities we can offer to Russia. Transport is the main sphere in Russian-Latvian relations," Slesers noted.

In his opinion, the border treaty between Latvia and Russia should be signed in the version that was previously agreed by both sides. "If lawyers have doubts about the agreement's compliance with the Constitution, then the best option would be to put the issue to the popular vote. Let Latvia's citizens decide in a referendum whether they recognize the 'de facto' border between Latvia and Russia. I am convinced that a majority of people will say 'yes'. We have no other alternative - if we want good neighborly relations with Russia, we have to settle the border issue," Slesers outlined.

Slesers also told the newspaper that in case he is reappointed as transport minister in the new government, he would keep boosting passenger turnover at Riga airport, developing Latvia's road infrastructure, upgrading the railway system and increasing the competitiveness of Latvian ports.

The politician noted that involving a fourth partner in Latvia's existing coalition should not be made an end in itself.
Latvia's present coalition partners - the conservative People's Party, the Greens and Farmers Union and Latvia's First Party together with its ally Latvia's Way have nominated incumbent Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis to remain in office. According to provisional results of the recent general elections, the three ruling parties will have 51 votes in the new parliament.