RIGA - Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Juris Puce (For Development) is still awaiting action from members of the Riga City Council to disassociate the City Council's work from sanctions hit Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs and the impact these sanctions have on the City Council, the minister told the morning newscast 900 Seconds this morning.
The minister stressed that Lembergs had so far been the chairman of two council committees, as well as chairing several commissions, which in fact directly influences the decisions made by the City Council.
The minister said that he received information this morning that Lembergs is not the chairman of the City Development Committee anymore. ''So, something is moving forward a bit on their side,'' Puce said.
Asked to comment on the work of the Riga City Council, Puce stressed that he still considered the Riga City Council to be dismissed, which was also supported by the Saeima in the first reading. He admitted that due to the collection of signatures on the postponement of amendments for the organization of emergency elections, the current Riga City Council will continue to work for about a month longer than planned.
As reported, at the beginning of January, Puce sent a letter to the Ventspils City Council, where he urged local councilors to urgently assess all possible indirect risks on the work of the local council after the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) has imposed sanctions on Ventspils mayor Aivars Lembergs (For Latvia and Ventspils).
The minister's spokeswoman Agnese Varpina informed LETA that in Latvia participants of the financial and capital market, including banks. Also, sanctions are binding in the area of public and private partnership and in respect to the EU funds and foreign financial assistance.
"The sanctions may bring consequences in the work of the Ventspils city council, in its economic activities and function, therefore local lawmakers should make responsible decisions so that these sanctions do not affect its financial stability and ability to preform its functions," said Puce.
It is responsibility of the local officials to reduce impact and control of Lembergs over the work of the local council, said Puce in his letter.
Of the 13 lawmakers elected to the Ventspils city council, nine, including, Lembergs, are members of For Latvia and Ventspils party. Lembergs is the party's chairman, and also chairs two committees at the Ventspils city council - the financial committee and the city development committee, which means that he takes part in making decisions on issues significant for the municipality.