Se­cu­rity Po­lice does not ap­prove of Lat­vian MEPs’ visit to Syria

The visit of MEP An­drejs Mamikins to Syria falls in line with Rus­sia’s geopo­lit­i­cal in­ter­ests, said Chief of Latvia’s Se­cu­rity Po­lice Nor­munds Mezvi­ets in an in­ter­view to Rīta panorama.

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He be­lieves it was an event or­ga­nized by Rus­sia in or­der to ex­press sup­port to its neigh­bour’s ac­tions. «It is un­for­tu­nate to see the in­volve­ment of a mem­ber of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment from Latvia in all this,» Mezvi­ets said.

He em­pha­sized that Latvia is a demo­cratic coun­try, and Mamikins can ex­press any opin­ion he wants, but so­ci­ety should de­cide if such peo­ple should be al­lowed to be mem­bers of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment.

In Syria, Mamikins met with Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad and as­sisted with hu­man­i­tar­ian aid in the coun­try.

Dur­ing his three-day visit to Syria, Mamikins vis­ited Aleppo and Da­m­as­cus, met with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the UN Of­fice in Syria and the Red Cross, the gov­er­nor of Aleppo, mem­bers of the par­lia­ment and re­li­gious lead­ers. Dur­ing the first day of the visit, Mamikins and fel­low MEPs Yana Toom and Tatyana Zdanok as­sisted with dis­tri­bu­tion of hu­man­i­tar­ian aid.

Ac­cord­ing to the MEP’s of­fice, on the sec­ond day Mamikins par­tic­i­pated in a meet­ing of the Syr­ian Na­tional Coun­cil’s for­eign af­fairs meet­ing. Mamikins says he was par­tic­u­larly im­pressed by his con­ver­sa­tion with Na­tional Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Min­is­ter Ali Haidar, who rep­re­sents Syr­ian So­cial Na­tion­al­ist Party, which is strict op­po­si­tion to al-As­sad, be­cause «in 2012 his party, un­like other op­po­si­tion par­ties formed a coali­tion with As­sad’s Baas».

On the last day of the visit, MEPs were wel­comed by the head of Syria’s For­eign Af­fairs Min­istry and Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad. «I cited to the Syr­ian pres­i­dent words spo­ken by Latvia’s For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Edgars Rinke­vics about how As­sad should be put un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion process by the In­ter­na­tional Court. Syria’s pres­i­dent said in re­sponse that such politi­cians have as though climbed up a tree and now have no idea how to climb down, Mamikins wrote.

Five other MEPs joined Mamikins for the visit to Syria: Es­to­nian MEP Yana Toom, Ital­ian MEP Ste­fano Maullu, Lat­vian MEP Tatyana Zdanok, Span­ish MEP Xavier Kouso Per­mis and an­other Ital­ian MEP Fabio Mas­simo Castaldo. Ac­cord­ing to Mamikins, the MEP group in Syria rep­re­sented the full spec­trum of EP po­lit­i­cal groups. This group will form the core of next EP peace process. Ten other MEPs have ex­pressed the de­sire to join this group.

Edgars Rinke­vics had pre­vi­ously posted on his Face­book pro­file a photo with Mamikins’ let­ter to the min­is­ter. In it, the MEP in­forms the min­is­ter of his plans to meet with al-As­sad. The min­is­ter em­pha­sizes that in Latvia’s of­fi­cial opin­ion, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the rul­ing regime in Syria should be held ac­count­able for crimes com­mit­ted against civil­ians.

«Any kinds of con­tacts, in­clud­ing meet­ings in­volv­ing MEPs, with alAs­sad can be con­sid­ered sup­port of ac­tions of the Syr­ian regime – it is un­ac­cept­able,» Rinke­vics wrote in his let­ter to Mamikins.

Edijs Pālens/LETA

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