RIGA, September 4 (RIA Novosti)
Latvian President Andris Berzins has said he did not back a campaign to "automatically" grant citizenship to tens of thousands of non-citizens in the Baltic country but admitted the issue needed to be resolved.
Berzins was speaking amid a campaign to gather signatures in support of a referendum on the fate of some 319,000 people, most of them Russian-speakers, who remain without citizenship in the former Soviet republic. Their status means they cannot vote in elections or work in many government jobs.
"This problem should be solved," Berzins told LNT television. But he dismissed the referendum plan as "not viable," saying "other solutions" were needed.
The activist group For Equal Rights, which is behind the campaign, still needs to gather another 150,000 signatures in order for the ballot to go ahead.
The non-citizens make up about 16 percent of Latvia's 2.1 million population.
Non-citizens are those who were born in Latvia during the Soviet rule if none of their direct relatives lived in the country before 1940.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
Image Galleries: Christophe de Margerie: 40 Years With French Oil and Gas Giant
Infographics: Nobel Peace Prize
Ukraine will not be a unitary state following the developments of last winter, spring and summer, says a report by the Valdai Club experts, which has been distributed on the sidelines of the 11th annual meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club that is underway in Sochi.