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27 May 2015

Agreement on visit of Latvian MPs to Belarus

MINSK, 27 May (BelTA) – A Belarusian delegation took part in a session held in the Latvian parliament to discuss results of the Riga summit of the Eastern Partnership Initiative, BelTA learned from Vitaly Busko, Deputy Chairman of the International Affairs Commission of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus. The Belarusian MP took part in the session.

Vitaly Busko explained that a meeting with Lolita Cigane, Chairwoman of the European Relations Committee of the Latvian parliament, and Ojars Kalnins, Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Latvian parliament, took place in Riga. “It was a very fruitful meeting. We discussed matters in detail. We enjoy virtually complete understanding on all the matters. An agreement on their visiting Belarus was reached,” said Vitaly Busko. He pointed out that among other places the Latvian MPs are eager to visit Vitebsk where a consular institution of Latvia is located.

Vitaly Busko added that Latvian MPs are interested in interregional and economic cooperation. The Eastern Partnership Initiative’s roadmap that will be implemented before the EaP’s next summit was discussed by Belarusian and Latvian MPs, too. “The Riga summit is now history. We should think about what will happen tomorrow. It is necessary to understand that participation in the Eastern Partnership Initiative does not mean European Union membership. By the way, German Chancellor Angela Merkel mentioned it during the summit in Riga,” said the Belarusian MP.

He also reminded about Belarus’ view on filling the Eastern Partnership Initiative with concrete deeds instead of high-sounding resolutions. “Certainly, we are waiting for the simplification of visa procedures to complete. After that it will be possible to advance projects relating to ecology, energy and so on. It is also necessary to advance projects to develop the border infrastructure. Belarus is the only country that borders on three European Union member states at once,” said Vitaly Busko. The Latvian side also demonstrated their positive attitude to Belarus’ efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine. “Our colleagues appreciate it a lot. The mood of the talks changed. The range of discussed problems grew considerably larger,” stated the MP.

The parliamentarian reminded that during the meeting in the Latvian parliament in Riga they also raised the issue of the need to practice an individualized approach to the countries that participate in the Eastern Partnership Initiative. Besides, participation in the Initiative does not mean that Belarus has to choose between the West and the East.

Earlier in an exclusive interview with BelTA Ojars Kalnins stated he had a very positive attitude to the idea of negotiations on Ukraine in Minsk. The Latvian MP also shared the view that Belarus is a donor of peace in its region as the Eastern Partnership Initiative’s only country that has no territorial problems or conflicts. “First of all, I think it is important that Belarus preserves its political independence and sovereignty. You are free to work with anyone: Russia, Latvia, or the European Union. The neutral stance is truly a positive status,” noted the member of the Latvian parliament.

The Latvian MP also spoke in favor of the idea of integration of integration that had been formulated by the Belarus president once. In his opinion, the rapprochement of several ex-USSR countries with the European Union does not necessarily mean that they will forfeit cooperation with Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union. “We may have a different attitude towards human rights and democracy. But we should not let it stand in the way of our cooperation. Peace and security are the most important things. People should not perish in conflicts. It is task number one,” he stressed earlier in the interview.

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