Latvia Protests to Russia over Oil Pipeline

The Latvian Foreign Ministry yesterday delivered a note to the Russian Embassy stating that an international agreement on joint use of an oil pipeline through Latvia is not being fulfilled. Rosbalt learnt about this protest at the Latvian Foreign Ministry's press office. Russia has not included Latvia in scheduled oil exports by pipeline for the first quarter of 2003, so no oil is entering Latvia by pipeline from Russia.

The agreement between Latvia and Russia was signed on June 2, 1993. 'Over the last ten years our cooperation has been mutually beneficial and had potential for further development,' the note states. 'Latvia has therefore made substantial investments in modernizing the pipeline's infrastructure and technology in order to gradually develop its capacity and ensure that high environmental standards are met.'

'In the current situation, when a Russian government commission has decided, without preliminary consultations with Latvia, to end the transport of oil to Ventspils along the pipeline belonging to the joint Latvian-Russian enterprise LatRosTrans, the agreement is being unilaterally broken,' the ministry stressed. 'Both the letter and the spirit of the agreement have been broken, as both parties agreed to develop mutually profitable cooperation in transporting oil and petroleum products, and to discuss and resolve disagreements, when they arise, through joint consultations and talks.'

The Russian Embassy in Latvia confirmed that it had received the note and stated that after the document is translated into Russian, it will be studied by Ambassador Igor Studennikov. The embassy added that the time taken to examine the note would depend on the issues it contains.

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