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    RUSSIAN-LATVIAN POLITICAL DIALOGUE DEPENDS ON OBSERVATION OF NATIONAL MINORITIES' RIGHTS

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    MOSCOW, February 28, 2004. (RIA Novosti). Prospects for the Russian-Latvian bilateral political dialogue depend on Latvia's observation of common standards in the sphere of observation of national minorities' rights. The Russian Foreign Ministry's press and information department announced this following the Friday consultations with Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Chizhov in Riga.

    "The Russian side again expressed concern for the status of Latvia's Russian-speaking population, the secondary education reform and absence of progress in the liquidation of mass statelessness," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

    "Latvia should take into account numerous recommendations of international organizations on the humanitarian situation in Latvia," the Foreign Ministry noted.

    "In connection with Latvia's coming ascension to NATO, negative consequences of the alliance's expansion for Russia's security should be minimized and new NATO members should fulfill military restraint obligations. The Latvian side confirmed its intention to join the adapted Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe after its coming into force," the press and information department said.

    On February 26 the Russian Embassy in Riga hosted Vladimir Chizhov's meeting with representatives of Russian-speaking organizations in Latvia and newsmen.

    "Russia confirmed its readiness to defend the rights of the Russian-speaking population as part of the dialogue with Latvian authorities and within European and international organizations," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

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