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Rinkevics calls for next EU-Russia summit to accentuate fulfillment of WTO obligations by Russia

Edgars Rinkevics. Photo: Lita Krone/LETA.
 RIGA, Dec 11 - Yesterday in Brussels, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics took part in the meeting of the European Union’s (EU) Foreign Affairs Council, LETA was informed by the Foreign Ministry.
Ahead of the EU-Russia Summit on December 21, the EU foreign ministers debated on the relations with Russia.
''It is important for Latvia that Russia observes obligations undertaken when joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) which include abandoning protectionist restrictions on imports of live pigs from the EU. Alongside matters of practical cooperation, it must be made certain that Russia observes democratic values and freedoms which underpin EU-Russia relations. Regrettably, in should be concluded that Russia has adopted laws which restrict the freedom of speech and activities by non-governmental organizations,'' the Latvian foreign minister indicated.
Rinkevics calls for more active advancement of a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which is to replace the agreement signed in 1997 and will provide a clear basis for EU-Russia relations in the future. ''Constructive and equal relations must be built with Russia. Here it is vital for the EU states to speak an equal language with Russia and implement a joint approach,'' the minister added.
The Foreign Affairs Council also exchanged opinions on the Middle East Peace Process and the situation in the EU’s southern neighborhood, in particular, Syria, Egypt and Libya. The ministers discussed the upgrading of the status of the Palestinian National Authority in the UN as well as Israel’s decision to expand the construction of settlements in East Jerusalem.
The participants also heard out the President of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib. On December 12, Foreign Minister Rinkevics will take part in the meeting of the 4th International Meeting of the Group of Friends of the Syrian People in Marrakech.
The agenda of the meeting also touched on the situation in the Western Balkans and EU-United States relations after the U.S. presidential elections.

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