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RIGA, June 25. /TASS/. Latvia should strive to develop good neighborly relations with Russia, the country’s President Andris Berzins said in an interview with the Vesti Segodya newspaper on Thursday.
"The reality is that Russia is our neighbor and in any case, we should look for the ways of developing good neighborly relations between our countries," said the president, whose four-year term expires on July 7.
"And I believe that today we remain good neighbors and at the human level our relations with Russians have not worsened," he said, adding however that there is a "clear downturn" in the current political ties.
However, relations between the people of Russia and Latvia have been maintained, Berzins said, stressing: "This is the basis for the further development."
"As a president, I have always tried to do utmost so that the relations between Latvia and Russia develop. Despite everything, I am an optimist in this issue," said the country’s outgoing leader, who has refused to run for a second term.
Until late last year, the cooperation between Russia and Latvia has been positive and rapidly growing, he said adding: "I see no grounds that the business relations of our countries should not develop in the long-term prospect."
On June 3, Latvia’s parliament elected the new head of state, former defence minister Raimonds Vejonis. A total of 55 lawmakers out of 100 voted for Vejonis in a secret ballot. Vejonis will be sworn in as president on July 8.