Lat­vian for­eign min­is­ter urges Rus­sia to in­ves­ti­gate hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions in Chech­nya

The Baltic Times - - BALTICS - BNS/TBT Staff

The Rus­sian author­i­ties should ur­gently un­der­take a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the tor­ture and per­se­cu­tion of in­di­vid­u­als, es­pe­cially based on their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, in Chech­nya and en­sure their se­cu­rity across the re­gion, Lat­vian For­eign Min­is­ter Edgars Rinke­vics said dur­ing the meet­ing of the EU For­eign Af­fairs Coun­cil in Brus­sels on Tues­day, May 16.

In­ves­ti­ga­tion of the re­ports about hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions arises from Rus­sia's com­mit­ments as a mem­ber of the Coun­cil of Europe and a state party to in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions, he said.

Rinke­vics also called on the EU min­is­ters to raise the is­sue of the hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions in Rus­sia at the up­com­ing ses­sion of the Euro­pean Coun­cil in Cyprus, the Lat­vian For­eign Min­istry said.

In a dis­cus­sion on the Eastern Part­ner­ship, Rinke­vics called for the Eastern Part­ner­ship to be kept high on the EU agenda and for en­sur­ing fur­ther devel­op­ment of the cur­rent pol­icy. "The im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Riga Sum­mit de­ci­sions must con­tinue and the Eastern Part­ner­ship must be sus­tained as a com­mon po­lit­i­cal frame­work for all part­ners, said the Min­is­ter. At the same time, it is vi­tal to fol­low a dif­fer­en­ti­ated ap­proach and think of the ways for­ward with the most am­bi­tious coun­tries, in par­tic­u­lar, by pro­mot­ing co­op­er­a­tion in trade and other ar­eas," he said.

Rinke­vics pos­i­tively eval­u­ated cur­rent sup­port from the EU for part­ner coun­tries through sim­pli­fy­ing en­try reg­u­la­tions and lift­ing cus­toms du­ties. It is the res­i­dents of the part­ner coun­tries who ben­e­fit most from the Eastern Part­ner­ship, and peo­ple should also re­main in the fo­cus of the Eastern Part­ner­ship pol­icy in fu­ture, stressed the Lat­vian for­eign min­is­ter. In a dis­cus­sion on prepa­ra­tions for the Eastern Part­ner­ship Sum­mit to take place in Brus­sels in Novem­ber 2017, he noted that the sum­mit should set re­al­is­tic aims to the part­ner coun­tries and the fu­ture vec­tor of the part­ner­ship.

In a de­bate on Eu-africa re­la­tions, Rinke­vics un­der­scored that, to ef­fec­tively fight against com­mon chal­lenges re­lated to ter­ror­ism, mi­gra­tion, eco­nomic devel­op­ment and cli­mate change, closer co­op­er­a­tion is re­quired at the bi­lat­eral level and in in­ter­na­tional for­mats.

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