Volodymyr Lytvyn and Solvita Aboltina. Photo by Saeima.
RIGA - Latvia and Ukraine have huge cooperation possibilities, and both countries are interested in expanding this cooperation, Saeima Speaker Solvita Aboltina (Unity) told members of the press today after a meeting with the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, or Verkhovna Rada, Volodymyr Lytvyn.
The Saeima speaker emphasized that Latvia sees relations with Ukraine as very valuable, because both countries have similar historical experiences, values, as well as close economic and cultural cooperation.
At the same time, Aboltina said that Latvia is interested in seeing Ukraine as a stable partner for the European Union, however, the EU has a specific system of values, thus without reforms and the strengthening of rule of law in Ukraine, the country's road towards the EU remains a long one. She added that Latvia, as a European Union member, is prepared to offer any assistance to Ukraine in its path towards the EU.
On the other hand, Lytvyn emphasized that relations between the two countries cannot only be described as constructive, but also very trustworthy and historically friendly. He also said that Ukraine highly regards Latvia's support and desire to help Ukraine's EU integration process.
Lytvyn added that ethnic Ukrainians feel good living in Latvia, for which he thanked the Latvian government. In turn, Aboltina said that Ukrainians make up one of the largest ethnic minorities in Latvia, and that these persons are very loyal to Latvia.
As reported, during his visit to Latvia, Lytvyn will also meet with Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity), Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (Reform Party) and President Andris Berzins.
Lytvyn will visit the Ukrainian High School in Riga, meet with the local Ukrainian community in Latvia, as well as visit the Riga Bourse Art Museum and the Ukrainian literature section of the University of Latvia's Academic Library.
Lytvyn has arrived in Latvia with a small delegation of Ukrainian parliamentarians.