Delegations of the Russian and Latvian Foreign Ministries April 18 and 19 held in Riga the inaugural round of a planned series of talks on the two countries’ mutual border. The delegations disagreed on the status of the Abrene (Russian name: Pytalovo) district, seized from Latvia and transferred to the Russian Federation following the Soviet occupation of Latvia. In addition, the sides have what appear to be manageable differences over other, minor points in delimiting the border. The Russian delegation announced that it considers the talks to have never commenced. The delegations agreed to meet again but did not set a date. (BNS, Itar-Tass, April 19 & 20)
Under the 1920 treaty between Soviet Russia and Latvia, which was never abrogated de jure, the disputed district belongs to Latvia. The Russian delegation at the session refused to recognize that treaty’s juridical validity — a position identical to that adopted by Russia in border talks with Estonia. That thesis denies the internationally recognized legal continuity of Latvian (and Estonian) statehood following Soviet occupation.
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