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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Riga Moves to Resolve Border Flap

RIGA, Latvia -- The Latvian parliament on Thursday gave the government the green light to conclude a long-awaited border treaty with Russia.

Latvia would be the second of the three Baltic states to sign such a treaty with Moscow.

Sixty-nine lawmakers supported the bill, while 26 voted against in the 100-member Saeima.

The treaty, negotiated in 1997, has been in limbo mainly because of sour relations between Moscow and Riga and opposition from some Latvians who felt it should address a swath of land seized by the Soviet Union after World War II.

The treaty does not change the present effective border between the two countries.

Politicians, including members of the ruling coalition and the opposition, had originally insisted that any border agreement should mention the 1920 Latvia-Russia peace treaty, which established a slightly different frontier between the two countries.

The disputed territory, now a district in Russia called Pytalovo, was known as Abrene in Latvia in the period between the two world wars. But Russia made it clear that any such phrase in the treaty would be regarded as a territorial claim.

At the start of debate last week, President Vaira Vike-Freiberga told lawmakers that Latvia would be behaving irresponsibly as a member of the European Union and NATO if it began making territorial claims against Russia. She was expected to sign the law within 10 days.