June 6, 2006
On 6 June 2006, the Latvian and Russian Ministries of Foreign Affairs held consultations on the EU-Russia co-operation issues. Both parties discussed a wide range of current matters, focusing particularly on the results of the EU-Russia Summit, the development of the new EU-Russia legal framework document, the implementation of the Road Maps for Four Common Spaces, energy, regional co-operation, and work on the Northern Dimension initiative.
On the Latvian side, consultations were led by the Director of the First Bilateral Relations Department, Vilmars Henins, and on the Russian side – by the Director of the European Co-operation Department, Sergei Ryabkov. The Russian Foreign Ministry representatives also had a separate meeting with the Latvian Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary of State, Edgars Skuja.
During the consultations, both parties evaluated positively the results of the EU-Russia Summit held in May and noted the positive role of the agreement on re-admission and visa facilitation signed as part of the summit in promoting contacts between the EU and Russia. Discussing the development of the new framework document which will substitute the current Partnership and Co-operation Agreement, the parties agreed that the document must be legally binding and comprehensive, and it must promote the implementation of Road Maps. The Russian officials expressed interest in starting negotiations on the draft agreement as soon as possible. The Latvian side expressed readiness for a constructive and determined work, noting the need for the quality of the document. On Road Maps, the parties indicated progress in their implementation, as in the year since their adoption specific results have already been reached, such as the signing of the above-mentioned agreements, establishing! of dialogues in different areas, and the holding of a number of meetings and consultations on current matters.
The Latvian officials expressed support for Russia’s aspirations to join the World Trade Organization as soon as possible, and reiterated Latvia’s interest in lifting Russia’s discriminatory railway tariff policy. During the discussion of energy-related issues, Russian Foreign Ministry representatives were briefed on the opportunities to employ the potential of Latvia’s underground natural gas storage sites.
At the close of the meeting, both parties expressed their interest in continuing contacts in this format on EU-Russia co-operation matters.