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The Russian Foreign Ministry calls upon the countries of the European Union to consider the issue of human rights observance in Latvia and Estonia
The Russian Foreign Ministry calls upon the countries of the European Union to consider the issue of human rights observance in Latvia and Estonia within the framework of the agreement on partnership and cooperation between Russia and the European Union. As Alexander Grushko, director of the department of the all-European cooperation of the Russian Foreign Ministry, stated on Tuesday at the parliamentary hearings now underway in the State Duma, the processes taking place in these Baltic states "cannot be assessed as positive." In particular, he mentioned the school reform now underway in Latvia, as well as the rates of naturalization in Latvia and Estonia. The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman stressed that Russia cannot recognize this situation as satisfactory if one is to speak about strategic partnership and cooperation with the European Union. He also noted that when Russia poses the question of obligatory application of the European standards with regard to national minorities on the territories of these states "it does not asks for anything which is beyond the framework of the European standards." Apart from that, Mr. Grushko stressed that violations of human rights in Latvia and Estonia are a burdening factor for the whole complex of bilateral Russia-EU relations. Russia expresses concern over the fact that some quarters in Latvia and Estonia are coming out for the revision of the results of the Second World War. Russia is also perplexed by the attempts on the part of these quarters to formulate material claims to the Russian Federation. "All this cannot promote the establishment of relations of genuine good-neighborliness and cooperation," Mr. Grushko said. At the same time he noted that Russia and the European Union should solve all these questions through dialogue and constructive interaction.
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