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NATO-Russia cooperation could help improve Latvia-Russia relations - Rinkevics

Edgars Rinkevics. Photo: Evija Trifanova/LETA.
 BRUSSELS, Dec 5 - Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (Reform Party) believes that NATO-Russia cooperation could be an additional incentive to improve bilateral relations between Latvia and Russia.

The minister told LETA that bilateral relations are also influenced by relations between NATO and Russia, as well as relations between the European Union and Russia.

The minister admitted that there was much tension in relations with Russia this year, which was influenced by the language referendum, various announcements, unreasonable accusations of Nazism glorification, as well as other events. ''This all led to a backdrop of relations which I believe has not been very positive,'' Rinkevics said.

At the same time, the minister emphasized that Latvia is prepared to cooperate with Russia based on mutual respect. He said problems must be discussed in a ''normal way'', and not with exchanges of announcements.

Commenting NATO-Russia cooperation, Rinkevics pointed out that the discussion with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was ''constructive and positive'' at the NATO-Russia Council meeting today. Various sides expressed the point of view that new areas of cooperation between NATO and Russia must be found.

As reported, Rinkevics is attending a NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels today.

During the meeting, progress since the Chicago Summit will be discussed, in particular the NATO partnership policy, the situation in Western Balkans, and the transition process in Afghanistan.

Rinkevics will also participate in NATO-Russia Council and NATO-Georgia Commission's meetings.

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