Neighbours living without need of border fences
An inter-state agreement on the Belarusian-Latvian state border is signed in Vitebsk, following a meeting between the Foreign Minister of Belarus, Vladimir Makei, and that of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs
By Sergey Gomanov
Mr. Makei explains, “The issues discussed relate to trade-economic, humanitarian and political co-operation, as well as Belarus-EU relations. Mutually acceptable solutions have been found in all areas. We’ve clearly shown Belarus’ position regarding collaboration with the European Union and have listened to our colleague’s position. I believe that, despite all existing problems in our relationship with the EU, we’re not at an impasse. We’ve achieved definite understanding on how best to develop our interaction in the context of our relations with the EU.”
The inter-state agreement completes the international legal process, formalising the borders set in 1992, regulating how the border should function. It covers the procedure for crossing by citizens, transport vehicles and aircraft, as well as movement of cargo. Moreover, it details how incidents are to be tackled.
We boast close ties and, since February 2012, have operated an agreement between Belarus and Lithuania on simplified crossing for residents of border areas. Permission can be granted by the consulate at a cost of just 20 Euros, while pensioners, those with disabilities and children under 18 are free of charge. Last year, over 8,000 Latvians and around 500 Belarusians took advantage of the new rules. Mr. Rinkēvičs also notes, “We’ve charged our consulate services with simplifying border crossing even further, by eliminating some bureaucracy. I believe corresponding amendments will soon be made to the agreement.”