Treaty boosts trade with Belarus

  • 2001-04-19
  • BNS
RIGA - Belarus is interested in using Riga's ports for the transit of its cargoes, prompting Latvian and Belarusian border guards to draft intergovernmental agreements which, when signed, will allow quicker movement of goods across their mutual border.

Belarus National Border Guard Force committee chairman Alexander Pavlovsky announced the cooperation plan at a news conference April 12 in Riga during a two-day visit to Latvia.

The Belarus national departments of customs and border guard forces and the Latvian State Revenue Service and border guard office signed an agreement to return certain types of goods and vehicles used for cargo transportation as well as accompanying documents.

Representatives from both countries said that sometimes motor vehicles got stranded in the neutral zone between two border checkpoints as border guards of one country allowed the vehicles out, but the other country's border guards would not let them in.

Now, say officials, the situation on the border will improve and motor vehicles will pass through the checkpoints of both countries at a much faster pace.

Pavlovsky said that both countries consider successfully combating drugs and arms smuggling across borders and illegal migration to be a priority.

He added that illegal migration between Belarus and Latvia has practically been eliminated. Last year no one was detained on the Latvian-Belarusian border for illegal migration.

The two countries, however, have yet to sign an agreement on the re-admission of illegal immigrants.

Speaking about the demarcation of the Latvian-Belarusian border, Pavlovsky said that Belarus has delayed the process due to a shortage of funds. Contrary to the Baltics or Poland, Belarus has not received any financial assistance from the EU to help with the process.

Customs and border guard officials also discussed border crossing procedures for the residents of border areas.