Latvian fishermen to appeal border pact to Parliament

  • 2000-10-05
RIGA (BNS) - A meeting of a Latvian fishermen port blockade committee on Sept. 29 resolved to submit a request to Parliament asking it not to ratify the sea border agreement with Lithuania, Latvian Fishermen Association president Inarijs Voits said.

He reiterated that the Latvian fishermen were set to block the largest ports in protest of the parliamentary foreign committee's decision to send the Latvian-Lithuanian sea border agreement before Parliament for its final reading.

Earlier Voits had said that the fishermen did not want to act against Latvia and undermine the national economy, but they had no other option but to start the blockade before Parliament makes its final decision in the matter.

The fishermen maintain that Latvian diplomats are to blame for the current situation, that they have lost Latvia's positions for an international agreement but would not admit it and were now "saying the right things about the wrong deeds."

The Latvian parliamentary foreign committee on Sept. 27 upheld, with a minimum majority, the suggestion to bring the Latvian-Lithuanian border agreement before Parliament for its final reading.

The committee has abandoned the idea of making the ratification of the agreement before Parliament a condition of signing economic agreements with Lithuania concerning the use of possible oil deposits, but it is not clear when the Latvian parliament could review the border agreement signed more than a year ago.

If Parliament resolves to ratify the agreement, Latvian fishermen stand to lose very good fishing areas and, consequently, a large part of their income. The possible losses are estimated at some 2 million lats ($3.278 million) or 20 percent of their income.