Saeima after week-long debate finally approves declaration in support of Estonia

mAY 10, 2007

RIGA, May 10 (LETA) – Saeima today rejected a declaration project in support of Estonia developed by the New Era (JL) political party, but approved an alternative declaration prepared by the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

71 deputy voted “for” the new declaration, 21 were “against”.

The new text, however, does not differ much from JL’s version.

The committee’s chairman Andris Berzins (Latvia’s First Party/Latvia’s Way) earlier proclaimed that it was the only way to pass the declaration this week already.

If JL’s bill was accepted, it would have to be returned to Saeima for deputies’ evaluation at least five days before the Saeima plenary vote on the bill.

The declaration states that Saeima follows the developments in Estonia and condemns the recent riots, vandalism and extremism on Tallinn’s streets and at the Estonian Embassy in Moscow. The Latvian parliament expresses support for the Estonian government, and reminds that it has always respected and will respect Estonia’s independent decision.

Saeima denounces Russian officials and State Duma members’ statements that can be interpreted as an attempt to interfere in Estonia’s internal affairs.

Saeima also stresses in the declaration that Russia, according to the Vienna Convention, must guarantee the safety of Estonian diplomats in Russia.

The declaration demands that Russia call to account the organizers and participants in attacks on the Estonian Embassy in Moscow, and condemns any actions of Russia that can be interpreted as meddling in Estonia’s internal affairs.

JL had proposed to adopt its declaration already last week, but the proposal was rejected by several ruling coalition politicians, which later led to severe criticism in public for the delay in expressing a political support of Latvia to its Baltic neighbor Estonia.