Latvian presidential adviser admits Russia’s policy can’t be changed by sanctions

Russia’s policy can’t be changed by sanctions, adviser to the Latvian president Andris Piebalgs said on Tuesday.

Russia’s policy can’t be changed by sanctions, adviser to the Latvian president Andris Piebalgs said on Tuesday.

"The relations with Russia are complex but no one has ever thought it possible to make Russia change its policy with sanctions. This has never been and will never be. So, difficult negotiations with Russia lie ahead," the adviser said in a live broadcast of Latvian television.

The adviser to the Latvian president said at the same time it was hardly possible to expect that the sanctions imposed by the European Union against Russia would be lifted soon, adding that contacts should be continued.

"[Russian Foreign Minister] Sergey Lavrov was recently in Brussels and there were meetings and negotiations. The political contacts were not disrupted," he said.

Visa-free regime with EU possible for Georgia and Ukraine 

The adviser to the Latvian president also said he believed the EU’s visa-free regime with Georgia and Ukraine could become a reality under certain conditions in the future.

"If the technical work on visas with Ukraine and Georgia goes well, the visa-free regime will become a reality," he said.

For other Eastern Partnership countries, the EU has changed its strategy and will now examine the situation on an individual basis, separately for Armenia, Belarus and Azerbaijan, depending on the country’s requirements, he said.

"The Eastern Partnership program is a common scheme but we’ll work with each country taking into account the quality it offers and considering whether it would want to cooperate with the EU," the presidential adviser said.

Russia’s Permanent Envoy to the EU Vladimir Chizhov said last Friday that despite a considerable volume of the text of the final political declaration adopted by the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga, it had no hint at the main thing - the prospect for the program’s member states to join the European Union.

"The document primarily lacks what some focus states hoped for and makes no clear indication of the European Union’s engagement relative to their integration into the EU. That is, there is no even a hint at a possibility, even if in the distant future, to become EU members," the Russian diplomat said.

"The second thing, which it lacks and what was probably expected even with greater impatience, first of all, in Ukraine and Georgia, is the indication of some specific time limits for the transition to a visa-free regime," Chizhov said.

Over the six years of the existence of the Eastern Partnership program, the EU "has not ever applied to us with any project," the Russian diplomat said. "This fact could not but confirm our thought that the political goal of this initiative is not aimed at interaction with Russia and, on the contrary, this entire project largely pursues the goal of tearing focus countries apart from Russia and is an instrument of some artificial competition with it for the region, which they themselves [the EU] called an area of ‘common neighborliness,’" the Russian diplomat said.

First published by TASS.

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