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Opinions & Interviews

26 Jul 2019

Latvia expects fruitful talks from Lukashenko’s visit to Riga

Latvia expects fruitful talks from Lukashenko’s visit to Riga

MINSK, 26 July (BelTA) – Latvia hopes for fruitful political and economic talks during Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko’s visit to Riga, Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkevics told the media after his meeting with the Belarusian head of state on 26 July, BelTA has learned.

According to the minister, the date of the visit is still unknown. It will be discussed through diplomatic channels and the decision will be made taking into account the working schedules of the presidents of the two countries.

Edgars Rinkevics hailed the meeting with Aleksandr Lukashenko as successful. In his words, the parties talked over a number of topics that would be on the agenda of the forthcoming visit. The talks touched upon several issues related to the political and economic sectors, security and the development of relations between Belarus and the EU. “We have discussed bilateral relations between Latvia and Belarus. I have conveyed greetings from our new president who took office on 8 July and confirmed the invitation of Aleksandr Lukashenko to visit Latvia,” the minister said.

The parties also discussed the Eastern Partnership initiative and the EU. “We are working to take the cooperation between the European Union and Belarus onto a new level. As I told the president, it is always great to meet, but these relations should be formalized. We will continue working to promote the basic principles of cooperation between the European Union and Belarus,” the minister said.

The meeting also highlighted issues of regional security and military cooperation. “We have already developed very good relations between our defense ministries, including in information sharing. There are some disagreements regarding big geopolitical issues with our big neighbors. Latvia hosts NATO exercises. Russia conducts its exercises, too. However, we are happy with the way our relations are developing with Belarus. It is the exchange of observers, the exchange of information. There are also contacts at the highest military level. We expect a visit of the commander of the Latvian National Armed Forces to Minsk in August,” Edgars Rinkevics said.

According to the minister, the parties discussed in detail the agenda of the dialogue between the European Union and Belarus, Latvia and Belarus. “The issue which has been under discussion for a long time and which is viewed in the European Union as the most fundamental is death penalty. I have heard the president’s stance. I think we will continue discussing the matter. I would like to note that the talk was very constructive and frank. We do not always agree with each other. However, it is good to see the way we discuss this issue,” he said.

The diplomat added that some economic promising projects in transit, logistics and transport sectors were discussed.

The Belarusian president and the Latvian minister of foreign affairs paid close attention to the preparations for the IIHF World Championship which Belarus and Latvia will co-host in 2021. The parties also talked over the possibilities of facilitating border crossing procedures for fans.

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