Ruling coalition unable to agree on border treaty

The Baltic Times
Wire Reports, RIGA

Ruling coalition parties were unable to reach a consensus during a Jan. 8 meeting on the disputed Latvian-Russian border agreement. The issue will be discussed again on Jan. 16, Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis said.

“Once the coalition has a unified point of view, we will push the agreement forward. We are still working on various models regarding the treaty,” said Kalvitis, who represents the People”s Party.

Plans to call an emergency Saeima meeting on Jan. 17 to debate the border agreement will also have to be postponed. Kalvitis told journalists that there was no indication that the treaty would be connected to Latvia”s 2003 referendum to join the European Union. Instead, ratification of the border agreement will most likely be based on the second addendum to Latvia”s EU accession agreement, which deals specifically to the border between Latvia and Russia. According to this document, the former Abrene County (now Pytalovo) is Russian territory.

However, according to unofficial information, Kalvitis could propose referring to Latvia”s EU accession referendum as an option for resolving the current border problem. Sixtyseven percent of Latvians voted in favor of EU membership on Sept. 20, 2003.

Various legal experts have argued that the referendum, however, cannot be interpreted as Latvia”s support for the present Latvian-Russian borderline.

Ambassador to Russia Andris Teikmanis earlier said that he hoped the border agreement would be signed in the first half of 2007.