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Opinions & Interviews

20 May 2015

Stiprais: Latvia seeks very close cooperation with Belarus

MINSK, 20 May (BelTA) - Latvia seeks to establish a very close cooperation with Belarus, Latvian Foreign Ministry's Political Director Eduards Stiprais told BelTA.

"We can say that some qualitative changes have happened in the relations between the EU and Belarus. The relations between Latvia and Belarus, I think, have always been friendly, really good-neighborly. Our geography, history and many family ties have shaped our cooperation,” Eduards Stiprais said.

Eduards Stiprais noted that there is a word in Latvian which is similar to the Belarusian word Siabry (friends). This word is mostly used in the eastern part of Latvia. Sabry in Latvian means two owners of one land plot in the rural community. This means really close neighbors. I think that it can perfectly describe the level of relations that Latvia seeks to have with Belarus. As far as I know from my contacts in Minsk, the Belarusian side has the same intentions,” the diplomat said.

When asked about the prospects of the Belarusian-Latvian cooperation in relation to the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga, the diplomat stressed: "Our relations have been developing successfully regardless of the summit".

Eduards Stiprais said that the summit is certainly a big event, covering all countries of the initiative. "Relying on the experience and maybe the mistakes we made in the past, we now place more emphasis on differentiation of the approaches to every country partner. And this is what makes this summit interesting,” Eduards Stiprais said. This individual approach is based on the wishes and needs of the countries participating in the Eastern Partnership initiative.

In addition, the diplomat stressed that Latvia’s holding Presidency of the EU does not mean that the country makes decisions for the entire European Union. However, the state holding the presidency may bring to the debate within the Union its understanding of the processes taking place in Belarus. "It is the understanding how we can and should develop cooperation between Belarus and the European Union... This is an opportunity to voice some point of view which was proprbably not very vocal before," Eduards Stiprais said.

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