LATVIA REFUSES TO REGARD RUSSIANS, LITHUANIANS, UKRAINIANS AS NATIONAL MINORITIES

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RIGA, February 1 (RIA Novosti) - The framework convention on the protection of national minorities in Latvia will concern only Livs and Gypsies, Karlis Shadurkis, leader of the New Time largest party of the Latvian parliament, said at a press conference.

"The framework convention on the protection of national minorities should spread only on indigenous ethnic groups living in Latvia for a long time and has nothing to do with immigrants from the Soviet Union," Mr. Shadurkis said.

"I hear that Russians who lived here before 1940 (the year when Latvia joined the USSR) are considered a national minority in Latvia. However, we should not forget the goals of the convention - to protect small European ethnic groups having no statehood. These are not ethnic groups having the states of their own. Therefore, the convention should not spread on these minorities," Mr. Shadurkis noted.

Heated debates on the adoption of the European framework convention on the protection of national minorities are underway in Latvia. The country should adopt this document to meet the standards of the European Union. A month ago Latvian Prime Minister Aigar Kalvitis said that the convention should not spread on Russians and other national minorities who came to Latvia from the Soviet Union. The convention should concern only Livs (the Finno-Ugric language group) and Gypsies living in Latvia for centuries.

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