Government sits on fence over Presidential visit to Moscow

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Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma repeatedly refused to be drawn Tuesday on whether President Andris Berzins should accept an invitation from Moscow to take part in Kremlin commemorations of the end of World War II.

Speaking to the press after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Straujuma said she agreed with the position of her foreign minister, Edgars Rinkevics and had nothing to add.

However, that statement means little as Rinkevics' own position on the matter is less than forthright.

After a meeting with Latvian President Andris Berzins earlier on Tuesday, Rinkevics told the press that Berzins would make his own decision about accepting or rejecting the invitation to the May 9 celebration in Moscow in good time, "meeting the necessary diplomatic deadlines” which are several weeks away.

"I think we could put this issue to one side for a while," the Rinkevics said.

He refused to discuss the arguments for and against the trip to Moscow that had been discussed with Berzins but said that the President had agreed that Latvia's Presidency of the Council of the EU as well as development of the situation in Ukraine had to be taken into consideration, when making the decision.

"The President will make his decision,” he said.

Rinkevics has said he would like to see some sort of consensus from EU member states on whether or not to participate in the festivities planned in Moscow to mark the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany.

"The EU should have a common position on this issue. It is not the responsibility of Latvia's Presidency to achieve this common stance, but it is quite a reason to talk to the heads of the EU states," said Rinkevics.

The other Allied powers including the United States and Great Britain mark Victory in Europe Day - if at all - on May 8.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has already announced that she will not go to Moscow, and it is a safe bet that Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves will not face the prospect of watching a massive parade of Russian military power in a positive light either.

Latvia began its six-month Presidency of the Council of the EU on January 1, 2015.

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