Council of the Baltic Sea States due for change

  • 2007-06-13
  • From wire reports

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE: Talks between foreign ministers at a recentCouncil of the Baltic Sea States meeting remained friendly, with RussianForeign Minister Sergei Lavrov (center) discussing further cooperation withboth Latvia and Estonia.

STOCKHOLM 's A report released by the Latvian Foreign Ministy on Wednesday stated that there would be significant reform of the Council of the Baltic Sea States during the upcoming Latvian presidency.

Latvia is due to take the presidency over from Sweden between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008. The Latvian presidency plans to propose reforms aimed at offering a new definition of the cooperation goals for the member countries, restructuring the organization and solving fund raising issues.

The main directions under Latvia's administration of the council will be education, energy and civil security.
Along with these priorities, there will be also other significant issues on the agenda 's prevention of obstacles for trade and investments, strengthening of cooperation of non-governmental organizations with the council's observer countries, strategic partners and special participants, formation of sustainable tourism development network and others.

A declaration on renewal of cooperation among the Baltic Sea States was adopted on June 13 in Swedish city of Malmo where the foreign ministers of the Council of the Baltic Sea States met, finding that the council's cooperation format is unique and the countries share common interests and problems.

The council meeting decided to delete from the agenda the point on liquidation of the council, which had been proposed by the directors meeting in March.

The recent meeting also included notable meetings of the Latvian and Estonian foreign ministers with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Latvian Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks discussed the possibility of upcoming official state visits with Lavrov.

Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet discussed the two countries' contractual basis and economic issues and further development of Estonian missions in Russia in his meeting with Lavrov. The Estonian foreign minister raised the issue of problems connected with crossing the Estonian-Russian border and construction of a new Narva bridge.

"In order to go on with the work, it is necessary to sign the agreements and Estonia is ready for it," Paet announced after the meeting. "Besides, there are other agreements that require more work, so the social insurance agreement needs to be entered into force."

The ministers also discussed continuation of political consultations between the two foreign ministries and found that they could take place during this year. Consular consultations between the two countries have been scheduled for the near future.