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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Thursday, 24.01.2019, 02:37

Latvia’s Ambassador: relationship dynamic between the West and Russia is dependent on Putin

BC, Riga, 04.10.2017.Print version
In an interview with LETA, Latvia's new Ambassador to Russia Maris Riekstins said that the relationship dynamic between the West and Russia is dependent on which path Russian President Vladimir Putin chooses.

According to him, the reason why relations between the West and Russia have fallen to one of its lowest ever is due to Russia's activities in Crimea and Ukraine. However, he added that it is very complicated to force a country to do something, which is why not even international organizations can force Russia to change its policies.

''We can look at North Korea as an example - the whole international community is against the North Korean nuclear program, but this has obviously not been working. I am not an expert in this region, and I do not have a solution, but we must continue to look for other ways with the aim of changing North Korea's position. I do not want to say that the situation with Russia is identical, but it is impossible to change their policies from the outside,'' the ambassador said.

Riekstins explained that the West must try to convince Russia that it is in its long-term interests to form pragmatic and rational cooperation and dialogue with the West. And trying to form such cooperation based on a common understanding of fundamental values is the correct path which the West must take, the diplomat said.

''The West has on many occasions demonstrated its readiness to go this direction, and the ball is currently in Russia's court at the moment. Cooperation is restricted at the moment, with sanctions in place by both sides. It is hard for me to imagine any way the sanctions against Russia could be reviewed without any sort of progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements,'' Riekstins said.

The diplomat also pointed out that maintaining a dialogue with Russia is very important, as it is necessary to attempt to talk with countries which have different opinions on many matters, or even complete opposite ones.

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