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    CONCERN GROWS IN EUROPEAN STRUCTURES OVER THE SITUATION OF RUSSIAN SPEAKERS IN LATVIA, RUSSIAN SENATOR SAYS

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    MOSCOW, March 2, 2004. (RIA Novosti) -- The European structures become ever more concerned over the situation of the Russian-speaking population in Latvia, believes head of the international affairs committee of the Russian Federation Council (the upper house of parliament) and vice-speaker of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Mikhail Margelov. He said that the decision to hand over the issue of a new Latvian law on education to the PACE ad-hoc commission so as it should prepare a corresponding report at the PACE session testifies to this concern. The decision was made on Tuesday at the session of the permanent committee of the Council of Europe in Paris.

    Margelov told RIA Novosti on telephone from Paris that already a third committee of the Council of Europe prepares a report on the situation of the Russian speaking population in Latvia.

    The Russian senator emphasized that this theme is being worked out in the PACE monitoring commission. In addition, the report on the situation of the Russian-speaking population in Latvia is also being prepared by the commission for the political issues.

    "The Russian delegation welcomes such an interested attitude of the European structures to the problem of Russian speakers in Latvia," Margelov declared.

    He stressed that the Russian language is one of the official languages in the PACE and that it should occupy a worthy place in Europe. Mikhail Margelov conducted the latest, January, PACE session in Strasbourg in Russian.

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