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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia's Foreign Minister Plans A One-Day Visit to Lithuania




VILNIUS, Lithuania -- Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov is to visit the former Soviet state of Lithuania, the latest sign of the two countries' warming relations, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.


The ministry said in a statement that Primakov would visit Lithuania on Saturday for one day and hold talks with all its leaders, including President Valdas Adamkus.


It said the talks would include bilateral ties and cooperation.


Relations between former ruler Russia and Lithuania are the warmest of the three Baltic states, although still tinged with wariness and suspicion from the Lithuanian side.


The visit last year of former Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas to Moscow was a big breakthrough, including the signing of a formal border demarcation deal, the only one Russia has with any of the former Soviet republics.


Ties between Russia and Latvia and Estonia have failed to thaw out of a post-Soviet chill.


The main stumbling block for Russia is the status of both countries' large Russian minorities.


Moscow accuses both nations of discrimination by not allowing them automatically to become citizens of their countries.


Latvia and Estonia say most Russian-speakers arrived during the 50-year Soviet occupation and have no right to automatic citizenship, introducing instead a system of naturalization.


But few of the Russian-speakers, who make up roughly one third of the population in both Estonia and Latvia, have gained citizenship via naturalization and remain effectively stateless.


Ties between Moscow and Latvia recently hit a new low, sparked by Riga police's rough handling of a protest by mainly Russian-speaking pensioners in early March.