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    RUSSIAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER TO DISCUSS LATVIA'S EU AND NATO MEMBERSHIP

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    RIGA, February 27, 2004 (RIA Novosti) --Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Chizhov will discuss today in Latvia the pressing issues of the Russian-Latvian relations.

    State Secretary of the Latvian Foreign Ministry Maris Riekstins reported that the meeting between Vladimir Chizhov and Latvian Foreign Minister Sandra Kalniete would spotlight Latvia's entry into the European Union and NATO.

    According to the local media reports, it is not ruled out that the sides will also touch upon the situation concerning the Russian-speaking population in Latvia, in particular the education of Russians in their native tongue. Amendments to the law on education, which led to numerous protests by defenders of education in Russian, are to come into force in Latvia today.

    The Russian side will also express its attitude to the prosecution of veterans of the Great Patriotic War and of Soviet secret service officers living in Latvia, point out the local mass media.

    For its part, Latvia is going to raise the question of signing an inter-state border treaty, which was initialed by representatives of both countries in 1997, and of opening the Latvian consulate in Kaliningrad.

    The consultations between the Russian and Latvian foreign ministries have been conducted since 1995 either in Moscow or in Riga once a year at least.

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