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Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov will meet with his visiting Latvian counterpart, Aigars Kalvitis, in Moscow
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov will meet with his visiting Latvian counterpart, Aigars Kalvitis, in Moscow Tuesday to sign a border treaty and discuss economic and social issues, a diplomatic source said. By signing the 1997 treaty on border demarcation, the sides will end a territorial dispute that has long soured relations between the two post-Soviet neighbors. Talks on the accord stalled last April after Riga adopted a unilateral declaration claiming land in the neighboring Russian region of Pskov, which had been part of Latvian territory before WWII, and demanding that Russia recognize the Soviet Union's wartime aggression of the Baltic state. Moscow dismissed both claims as unfounded, and refused to sign the treaty unless Latvia dropped the declaration, which Latvia eventually agreed to do. Commenting on the planned signing of the border treaty in its original version, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was looking forward to it as it was in Russia's national interests, and ended Latvia's claim to Russian territory. "The border treaty with Latvia is beneficial to Russia as it takes full account of our interests on the ground while, in political terms, putting an end to territorial claims." The talks are expected to focus on bilateral trade, but sensitive issues, such as alleged discrimination of ethnic Russians in the post-Soviet Baltic nation, will be considered as well. While in Moscow, Kalvitis will also meet with Russian Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref and hold talks on natural gas imports with the chief executive of Russia's gas monopoly Gazprom, Alexei Miller.
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