Latvia promises to support democracy in Kyrgyzstan

Latvian state officials pledged to back Kyrgyzstan in its efforts to develop towards democracy and economic growth, speaking upon their meetings with Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldaev on Thursday.

Latvian president Andris Bērziņš told the Kyrgyz senior diplomat that Latvia is eager to continue political dialogue and promote interparliamentary relations, which is especially important for Kyrgyzstan as the country continues developing its parliamentary democracy.

The President also said that Latvian businessmen are hopeful about certain areas of cooperation, especially transit and transport, which can be seen in foreign trade growth by 60 percent last year, as well as in the education and agriculture sectors. He reminded the Kyrgyz foreign minister that Latvia sees development of stable business environment and safety of investments as important factors for Kyrgyzstan's development.

Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs also vowed support based on bilateral agreements for cooperation programs lasting until 2017, as well as Latvia’s priorities as it assumes the Presidency of the Council of the EU and pursues deeper relations with the Central Asian region.

The Kyrgyz foreign minister on his part voiced hopes that during Latvia's Presidency a new strategic view on Central Asia would be developed within the EU. The visiting official also said that it is important for both countries to discuss their visions about the future development in the post-Soviet territory, and said that the Latvian president's visit to Kyrgyzstan might be a positive signal for the reform process and development of parliamentary democracy.

Abdyldaev said that next year's parliamentary elections will be significant for Kyrgyzstan, therefore he called on Latvia's Presidency and the EU to support the election process so that it is open and transparent.

As for the recent ruling by international arbitration courts that Kyrgyzstan must repay 16.5 million dollars in compensation to businessman Valērijs Belokoņs for its 2011 seizure of his Manas Bank shares after the fall of strongman dynasty of Kurmanbek Bakiyev, to whose son Maxim the Latvian financier was allegedly linked.

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