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Present relations between the EU and Russia indicate that some of the sanctions against Russia may be lifted by the end of 2016, Riga City Mayor Nils Usakovs announced in a press conference today.
"The current situation between the EU and Russia suggest that by the end of the year at least some of the sanctions might be lifted. The decision might be made by the EU, and then we could hope that Russia would also be willing to lift embargo on food products," Usakovs stated.
He explained that his responsibility as a politician would be to guarantee maximum support to Latvian producers when they are able to return in the Russian market in order to provide them with the greatest possible advantage. "We will not be the only ones — we will have Estonia, Lithuania, Poland competing; therefore we should help our producers, exporters as much as we can, and we can do that by ensuring good relations on a political level," the mayor stressed.
Asked whether the situation in Ukraine has been resolved to such a degree as to give the EU reason to lift its sanctions on Russia, Usakovs said that the EU is of the opinion that at least a portion of the sanctions may be lifted.
The mayor emphasised that Latvia should work alongside Russian investments and secure a positive political background so that Russian investors would be willing to return to Latvia.
Usakovs also remarked that the visit of Russian Vice-Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich to the Riga City Council, and the scheduled meeting with the Latvian agriculture minister, is a very noteworthy indicator of the present circumstances.
Dvorkovich spoke positively of the restoration of dialogue between Russia and the EU, including Latvia. He said that Russia will make an effort to win back its international market share, as well as promoting the return of Latvian products in the Russian market. According to Dvorkovich, it is also vital to maintain the good political, business, and culture relations between Moscow and Riga.
Usakovs and Dvorkovich today held an unofficial meeting during the Russian official's visit to Latvia.