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RIA Novosti

Russia

RUSSIA-LATVIA BORDER TREATY SIGNING DATE HANGS IN MID-AIR

19:03 11/05/2005

MOSCOW, May 11 (RIA Novosti) - A date for signing the border treaty with Latvia is "hanging in mid-air", Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Chizhov said commenting on the statement of the Latvian prime minister that Riga would not dump the attendant declaration.

"It is certainly regretful. It means that the date of concluding the border treaty is hanging in mid-air," the Russian top-ranking diplomat said.

In the end of April, the government of Latvia unilaterally adopted the explanatory declaration, reminding of the territorial claims to Russia. The Latvian Foreign Ministry has made it part of the border treaty with Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said recently that according to this declaration Latvia actually brings up the issue of passing to it the Pytalovo district in the Pskov region (Russia's north-western part).

President Putin emphasized that as a result of the Soviet Union's collapse Russia has lost "tens of thousands [square kilometers] of its primordial lands."

"Do you propose dividing it all from the very beginning? Let's divide all of Europe from the beginning. Do you want that?" the Russian president inquired.

"We are ready to conclude border agreements with Estonia and Latvia. But we hope they will not be accompanied by essentially foolish territorial demands," Putin added.

In this regard Latvian Prime Minister Aigar Kalvitis said on Wednesday that Latvia was not going to reject the unilateral declaration in the further talks with Russia on the border treaty.

"The Latvian state is not advancing claims. It is just explanation of its history, effects of the occupation," he explained.

He said that the Tuesday statements of the Russian president regarding the Latvian declaration were "very sharp". "They were aimed against the Baltic countries. If such a sharp reaction continues, constructive talks will certainly be complicated," the Latvian prime minister said.

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