RIGA, August 2 (Itar-Tass) — The Kremlin chief of staff, Sergei Naryshkin, and Latvian President Andris Berzins have discussed the state of and prospects for the development of Russian-Latvian relations and the problem of mass statelessness in the Baltic republic.
They expressed mutual interest in strengthening positive trends in the two countries’ relations, mainly those in trade and economy. This is proved by the two countries’ trade turnover that reached 3.3 billion dollars over the first five months of this year, up by almost 30 percent as against the same period of 2010.
Naryshkin and Berzins expressed the hope that bilateral trade will grow in the future.
The Kremlin chief of staff focused attention on the problem of mass statelessness in Latvia and the rights of Russian compatriots residing in the Baltic state. Moreover, the two sides expressed their intention to take efforts to resolve the unsettled issues.
There are around 2.3 million people in Latvia, of them 345,000 are Russian-speaking residents that have no Latvian citizenship. Since the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991 they were deprived of most political rights, including the right to vote at municipal and parliamentary elections and elections to the European Parliament.
Latvia’s parliament has repeatedly rejected any attempts of the Russian-speaking opposition to change this situation.