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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Schr?der Urges Baltics' Inclusion in EU

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- German Chancellor Gerhard Schr?der said his country had a moral duty to support Baltic integration into Western Europe after 50 years of Nazi and Soviet occupation.

"This duty comes from an understanding that it is not the Baltics who abandoned Europe, it was Europe that abandoned the Baltic countries," Schr?der said Wednesday.

Schr?der said the three Baltic states' European Union membership was in Germany's national interest.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, who was in the Estonian capital Wednesday, urged Russia to seek better relations with the Baltic countries.

Talbott said Moscow officials had gone so far as to speak about a "rise of neo-fascism" in Latvia and Estonia.

"Such charges, to put it mildly, are not supported by the facts," he said. "We're trying to bring about a better future for everyone in the region. That means enhancing common aspirations, not engaging in divisive and unwarranted accusations."