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Latvia to maintain good relationship with Russia – new foreign minister

October 27, 2011, 19:19 UTC+3

"The main thing is to maintain a dialogue, to create a positive atmosphere in our relations," he said

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RIGA, October 27 (Itar-Tass) —— For Latvia it is important to create a positive atmosphere in relations with Russia. Now the relationship between the two countries is better than ever before, which is seen in the resolution of various issues at the intergovernmental commission and visits by officials, the new minister of foreign affairs, Edgars Rinkevic, said in an interview, televised by the local channel LNT.

"The main thing is to maintain a dialogue, to create a positive atmosphere in our relations," he said, noting that relations between Riga and Moscow should be mutually beneficial. "We have a lot of complex intergovernmental issues that cannot be solved at one stroke of a pen. These are difficult questions of history, on which the position of Latvia has always been unambiguous," declared the politician.

"We will have different views on the issue of non-citizens. We have done everything for the integration of non-citizens and we would be more than happy, if the naturalization proceeded more quickly. We must continue to actively do this," said Rinkevic. In this regard, he called on the republic's residents without citizenship to undergo the naturalization process - to obtain Latvian citizenship by passing a special examination in the Latvian language and history.

The foreign minister also welcomed the establishment of a joint Latvian-Russian commission of historians following the first official visit of Latvia’s president to Russia in December last year. He said the main task of this commission, which will meet in session for first time on November 14, would be not to discuss "whether Latvia was occupied or not." The commission should discuss such issues as access to archives, he said.

The Latvian parliament on October 25 Latvia approved a new composition of the government, headed by Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis, including the appointment of Rinkevic as head of the Foreign Ministry. Previously Rinkevic was chief of the presidential staff of the former head of state Valdis Zatlers. he had also served as the State Secretary of the Ministry of Defense.


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