Baltic, Russian working group to combat organized crime

  • 2000-10-19
MEZOTNE, Latvia (BNS) - The interior ministers of the Baltic states and Russia agreed at a meeting Oct. 17 to form a working group for combating organized crime, Latvian delegation representative Normunds Belskis told reporters.

The working group is included in a joint agreement the ministers signed at the close of their meeting.

The ministers agreed that it will be specified by Nov. 1 what services would be covered by the working group. Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo said in a news conference the working group should include experts specializing in all types of organized crimes.

The ministers also said they wanted to devote increased attention to economic crimes, including money laundering.

Lithuanian minister Ceslovas Kazimieras Blazys said the protocol is just the beginning of continued cooperation and also includes the possibility of the Baltic states using the training bases of the Russian Interior Ministry. He said Lithuania is also interested in solving regional issues, especially in connection with Kaliningrad.

Rushailo praised the initiative of Latvian Interior Minister Mareks Seglins to hold the meeting. "We had constructive talks about strategic issues in combating crime," Rushailo said.

Asked what he thinks of the refusal of the Baltic states to join meetings of the CIS states' interior ministers, Rushailo said that only on Oct. 17 was he provided information about the council. If his Baltic states colleagues wanted to join actively in the council, then it could be considered in future how they could do it. But the decision on participation in the council should be made by the Baltic states themselves, said Rushailo.