21:22 GMT +321 October 2018
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    Latvian Amendments to Education Law Violate International Legislation - Moscow

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Amendments to the Law on Education recently adopted by the Latvian parliament (Saeima) contradict a number of international legal acts and will complicate relations between Moscow and Riga, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    "Once again, under the pretext of 'integration' and 'strengthening positions of the state language,' the legitimate interests and internationally recognized rights of more than a third of the population of this Baltic republic are violated. The amendments adopted by the nationalist majority of the Latvian Saeima contradict the declarations of the leadership of this country about adherence to high democratic standards and values, as well as a number of international legal acts," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    Moscow also warned Riga that the amendments would deteriorate bilateral relations.

    "Riga should realize that its unfriendly steps continue to complicate bilateral relations, and the Latvian party is fully responsible for that. We also expect that such actions will be assessed objectively by the relevant international structures," the Russian Foreign Ministry emphasized.

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    On Thursday, the Saeima made a final decision to completely transfer the schools of national minorities, including Russian-language schools, to the Latvian language of teaching by 2021. The bill was adopted by the majority of lawmakers in the third, final reading and now has to be approved by the president, who may return it for revision.

    The Latvian population is about two million people, of whom 40 percent are Russian language speakers. The only state language in the country is Latvian, while all other languages, including Russian, have the status of foreign languages. Russian-speaking residents have repeatedly protested against the government’s plan to force the schools of ethnic minorities to switch to the Latvian language.

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    minorities, international affairs, schools, bill, bilateral relations, Russian Foreign Ministry, Latvian Saeima, Russia, Latvia
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