Belarus and Latvia should be more active in developing bilateral cooperation. It was stated by Latvian President, Valdis Zatlers, in an interview to the First channel of Belarusian TV. "We will work for pragmatic development of our bilateral relations, and I think that both parties are interested in it", the head of neighboring state said.
Valdis Zatlers reported that at present the level of relations between the countries are not well developed. According to him, to the date there are contacts at the level of Foreign Ministers, the intergovernmental commission’s working, cooperation between border regions is also actively developing. «That is a lot of small steps», needed to be developed to have high-level contacts, the president of Latvia believes.
The head of neighboring state appreciated the activity of the EU Eastern Partnership program. «This is a very promising direction, because we want free visa regime to exist. To achieve this we must create conditions», Valdis Zatlers said. According to him, «every country, including Belarus, has its own goals» in Eastern Partnership. And if the goals are defined, then «there will be success and cooperation», the president stressed.
The head of Latvia also named a myth the oppression of Russian-speaking population in Latvia. «This is one of the myths. The legacy we have is the Soviet legacy, is the Soviet man. He has to overstep the limits to become a capitalist. And this is a very big problem. It is not the language. This is really an economic problem, we just should overstep».
According to Valdis Zatlers in Latvia there live more than 80 thousand Belarusians. «These are Latvian Belarusians. And they are not Russian-speaking. We have our own school (Riga Belarusian main school — Telegraf), which is supported by the state», the president said.
During the interview, the head of Latvia also touch upon the situation inside the country, especially in overcoming the economic crisis. «All our successes are successes of the European Union», he said, answering a question about the EU’s role in overcoming severe economic state. Valdis Zatlers noted that the cause of the crisis is euphoria, prevailed in society, and unwillingness to listen to European experts.
In addition, Latvian president told about four major goals, which must be reached in the country: demographic situation, wise country’s governance, modernization of economy and strengthening of social cohesion.
As Telegraf previously reported, on July 15, Belarusian First TV channel showed an exclusive interview with Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, who thanked Minsk for balanced policy towards Abkhazia and South Ossetia and criticized Moscow for «strange demands» towards it.
The interview sparked strong criticism among Russian politicians. Thus, first deputy chairman of Russia’s State Duma Committee on Agrarian Issues, member of the Communist Party group, Nikolai Kharitonov, said that «if the president of Belarus continues to demonstrate support for Georgian dictator, then he will take the path to finish his political life».
And Duma Speaker, Boris Gryzlov, estimated the interview as an unfriendly act towards Russia.