Latvia and South Africa discuss legal and consular cooperation

In the wake of the various controversies surrounding the Kristīne Misāne extradition case, on 27–28 February 2020, the non-resident Ambassador of Latvia to the Republic of South Africa (RSA), Raimonds Jansons, and Counsellor, Head of the Consular Legal Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dagnija Lāce-Ate, were on a working visit to the country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported February 28.

"During the visit, meetings took place with officials from the Consular Services Directorate and the Central and Eastern Europe, Baltic and Nordic Directorate of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of RSA, officials from the Department of Justice and Consular Development, as well as the leadership of the  Delegation of the European Union to South Africa and the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania," said a ministry release.

"In response to Latvia’s call for establishing a legal instrument that would enable a more effective cooperation between officials and an alignment of provisions under differing legal systems, the RSA officials agreed to continue negotiations on the conclusion of an agreement on legal assistance between the two countries to the extent possible. The current practice of the RSA has been to refrain from signing legal assistance agreements in criminal matters," the release said.   

"The Latvian and South African officials agreed to resume talks on an intergovernmental agreement on exemption of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic and service passports, which would considerably facilitate building a broader cooperation between the two countries,"' it added. 

South African officials informed the Latvian side that there are plans to simplify the process of receiving a visa in the coming years through rolling out an eVisa system. The system will be extended to the EU Member States nationals, including those of Latvia, who need a visa to enter South Africa.

Practical arrangements for ensuring successful consular assistance to Latvian nationals in South Africa were also discussed, including necessary preparations and arrangements for resuming Latvia’s representation in the RSA at the level of honorary consuls.

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