Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 152

Latvian prime minister Andris Skele telephoned his reappointed Russian counterpart Viktor Chernomyrdin August 16 to express Latvia’s interest in improving relations with Russia, particularly in the economic sphere. Chernomyrdin said that progress in bilateral relations "largely depended, as previously, on the situation of Russians in Latvia." The two agreed that Skele would pay a working visit to Moscow in the first half of September to discuss what Skele’s office termed "the full range of unsettled issues." (Itar-Tass, Interfax, August 16 and 17)

Apart from security issues, unresolved issues include, inter alia, the delimitation and demarcation of the mutual border, return of various Latvian assets held by Moscow, customs issues, and negotiation of an agreement, sought by Riga but avoided by Moscow, regarding the status of illegal migrants. The visit should become a significant test of Russian policy toward the Baltic states in the wake of Yeltsin’s reelection as president and the reshuffle of the Chernomyrdin government.

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