Latvia worried about French warship deal with Russia

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Latvian foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics on Monday explained Latvia's concerns about the planned sale by France of ultra-modern Mistral attack warships to Russia. 

After meeting with Harlem Désir, the Minister of State for European Affairs at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, in Riga, Rinkevics said the deal should not go ahead given Russia's aggression in Ukraine and implicit threats against the Baltic states.

"The Latvian Foreign Minister drew attention to the Mistral issue and said that this deal is unacceptable taking into account the existing security situation," a Foreign Ministry statement said.

The official French position is that the sale of the two Mistral vessels ordered by Russia is temporarily on hold rather than cancelled outright.

Rinkēvičs also briefed Désir on the wide selection topics that Latvia will focus on during its EU Presidency, namely: the promotion of competitiveness, growth, and investment; the climate and energy policy framework; unlocking the digital market potential for the growth of the Union; and enhancing the EU role as a global player, with a focus on EU cooperation with the Eastern Partnership countries and Central Asia.

The officials talked about the regional security situation, concentrating on the events in Ukraine and condemned, as a discredit to the name of democracy, elections that took place on 2 November in the separatist-controlled regions of Donetsk and Luhansk of Ukraine. 

Edgars Rinkēvičs also pointed to the "dire" conditions with respect to observance of the rights of ethnic minorities such as Tartars in Russia-occupied parts of the Crimean peninsula.


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