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SUBJECT [July 9] Armenia-Vietnam Speakers meet, Latvia's new President, Speaker of Slovak Parliament considers lifting sanctions against Russia
DATE 2019-07-09


PHOTO: Press office of the Government of Armenia. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan (left) meets with Vietnam’s National Assembly Speaker Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (right).


Appreciating the Prime Minister’s official visit to Vietnam, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngân said it might give new impetus to bilateral relations in a variety of spheres. “We are closely following the ongoing developments in Armenia and congratulate you on the achievements you have made in terms of enhancing Armenia’s position in the international arena.” Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan said, noting that the National Assembly of Vietnam would contribute to the development of bilateral ties.


Thankful for the warm welcome, Prime Minister Pashinyan noted that he had had fruitful talks with his Vietnamese counterpart, at which specific agreements were reached. “A wide range of issues will be discussed at the forthcoming meeting of the intergovernmental commission due to be held this fall in Yerevan. Decisions will be passed on visa facilitation, tourism development, double taxation, etc. We have agreed to hold a business forum on the sidelines of the sitting in order to promote the development and expansion of trade and economic ties,” the Prime Minister said.


Appreciating the development of intergovernmental and inter-parliamentary cooperation, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan conveyed Armenian National Assembly Speaker’s invitation for Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan to visit Armenia at her convenience. The invitation was accepted with pleasure.


The Armenian Prime Minister and the Speaker of the National Assembly of Vietnam hailed the ongoing interaction between the two countries’ parliamentarians on the international platforms and considered it necessary to continue cooperating in tune with each other’s positions. It was underscored that the Armenian Prime Minister’s visit has fostered a favorable atmosphere of cooperation and the sides should continue making joint efforts to achieve specific results.




PHOTO: LETA/SCANPIX. Latvia’s new President Egils Levits delivers his first address to the nation at the Freedom Monument in downtown Riga, Latvia on July 8, 2019.


On July 8, 2019, Egils Levits assumed office as Latvia’s new president, taking the oath of office in front of the parliament in a ceremony broadcast.


In his inauguration speech, Levits told lawmakers that in the following decade, Latvia has to evolve in to a modern, sustainable North European country that could serve as a role model to others. He said, “We have inherited our country from the previous generations; our duty is to pass it on to the next generations in a better shape than we have received it.”


He identified three priorities for his presidency: solidarity, a sense of belonging, and sustainability. He linked these priorities to growing inequality in Latvia, saying that “We all know that Latvia is among the most unequal countries in the European Union, an illness we have had for many years. Two parallel Latvias are developing in some respects. A smart solidarity policy incorporates not only the redistribution of income a smart policy creates equal opportunities…and includes areas that cannot be measured as a balance of income and spending. I call on everyone to shape a long-term solidarity policy together.”


New President Egils Levits, 64, was elected by the 61 of 100 votes in Saeima on May 29. A lawyer by profession, he has also served as a diplomat, having been Latvian Ambassador to Germany and several other European nations. He was a deputy in the 5th Saeima and served as Latvia’s Justice Minister and deputy Prime Minister. He was later elected to be a justice at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for nine years, and was long-serving Latvian representation to the EU’s European Court of Justice (ECJ).





PHOTO: Russian State Duma. Speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, Andrej Danko


Speaker of the National Council of Slovakia Andrej Danko said that the Slovak Parliament may consider a resolution on the lifting of anti-Russian sanctions and the normalization of relations with the Russian Federation within two months. He said, “Sanctions policy has failed to meet its goal. I believe that they will soon be ended, just as the restrictions measures in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) have been recently lifted. The paradox is that many people expected the restrictions measures to adversely affect Russia. But the reality is different. We see that technologies and science are developing in Russia, and import substitution is also taking place successfully.”


Slovak Speaker Danko was referring to a resolution drafted by National Council member Peter Marcheck. He was confident that abandoning the sanctions policy will entail development of a constructive dialogue between countries in all areas, including energy security, terrorism, and economic and humanitarian ties.


Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs of the Russian State Duma Leonid Slutskiy called the Slovak Speaker “a courageous man, a serious European politician, who could easily initiate the adoption of such a resolution together with his colleagues.” At the same time, Slutskiy cautioned against unwarranted optimism: “Earlier, similar resolutions were adopted by both chambers of the French Parliament…and despite this, then Secretary of State [for European Affairs] of the French Foreign Ministry, Harlem Desir…just said that this is not a reason for the executive authorities of the French Republic, the Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to change their position in the European Union.”


Recalling the statement of the new President of the European Parliament David Maria Sassoli that it is premature to even think about revising the anti-Russian sanctions in the European Council, Chairman Slutskiy said that although it is unreasonable to expect an immediate reversal of policies in Brussels, Slovakia’s resolution is necessary and useful in that it shows the position of the country’s population and will eventually pressure Brussels to review sanctions imposed on Russia.



By MSEAP Cyber Secretariat (