Presidents Guntis Ulmanis of Latvia and Valdas Adamkus of Lithuania met yesterday in the Lithuanian town Panevezis to discuss the crisis in Russian-Latvian relations. Adamkus announced after the meeting that Lithuania supports Latvia’s efforts to stabilize the internal situation, to integrate the non-citizen population, and to liberalize the law on citizenship in accordance with OSCE recommendations. The Lithuanian president called for a direct Russian-Latvian dialogue, pointing out that “Latvia is ready for talks at any level with Russia, and [that] Lithuania would welcome such talks.” Adamkus expressed his disagreement with Russia’s threat to introduce official economic sanctions against Latvia. Ulmanis pointed out that sanctions would hurt Russia itself, as well as Latvia. The presidents also discussed their countries’ cooperation with NATO and the European union. (International agencies, BNS, April 20 and 21)
The meeting and the statements signal unequivocal unambiguous support for Latvia’s efforts to defuse the crisis. Moscow’s latest statements indicate dissatisfaction with the legal steps being prepared by the Latvian government at the OSCE’s recommendation. Moreover, Moscow has turned down Latvia’s repeated offers to discuss the problems directly at the foreign minister or other levels. The Lithuanian parliament and its chairman Vytautas Landsbergis have been more outspoken than Adamkus in supporting Latvia. Estonia, for its part, has demonstrated greater caution.
A “DIVISION OF LABOR” IN UKRAINE’S FOREIGN POLICY.