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Cablegate: Federation Council Passes Latvian Border Treaty

VZCZCXYZ0015
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #4626 2621501
ZNR UUUUU ZZH (CCY TEXT ADX: OCFDFE MSI5580 600)
O 191501Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3999
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS MOSCOW 004626

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (ADDIN CAPTION)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PBTS PGOV LG RS
SUBJECT: FEDERATION COUNCIL PASSES LATVIAN BORDER TREATY

REF: MOSCOW 4309

1. (SBU) On September 19, the Russian Federation Council
voted 177 to one to ratify the border treaty with Latvia.
Despite fears that the Just Russia party might cater to the
nationalist vote in election-year politics (reftel), they
instead voted for the treaty with near unanimity in the first
reading. The next step in the ratification process is the
signature of President Putin. MFA Baltic desk diplomats
informed us that although Putin is currently in Sochi, they
do not expect a significant delay and said the document will
be signed in a "normal amount of time". After the treaty is
signed, it will be published in the newspaper Rossiskaya
Gazeta, and will go into effect ten days after publication.

2. (SBU) FM Lavrov was scheduled to travel to Riga on
September 17 to exchange the instruments of ratification, but
canceled the visit because parliamentary ratification was not
finalized. The MFA told us that no date has been set to
reschedule the visit, but that it would occur when the treaty
process was complete.

3. (SBU) Comment: The signing of this treaty is an important
step in normalizing the often-volatile relations between
Latvia and Russia. Although contentious issues such as
citizenship for ethnic Russians in Latvia remain on the
table, the ratification of the border treaty shows that
concrete progress can be made.
Burns

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