Latvia minister hopes for Russia role by Baltic Sea forum

Berlin  - Latvian Foreign Minister Maris Riekstins said Wednesday that it would be good if the Council of the Baltic Sea States could play a role in talks with Russia.

The council has played an important role in developing the economies of the region, Riekstins said after talks with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin.

Latvia is current president of the 11-nation council and will host a summit of its leaders in the Latvian capital of Riga in June.

Riekstins said Germany had become one of his country's most important trading partners since Latvia declared itself independence from the Soviet Union in August 1991.

"But there is still room for improvement on the economic front," the foreign minister said, adding that ambassadors from both countries were examining ways to increase trade.

Steinmeier said he would meet Riekstins again later this month in Brussels and once more in May when Riga hosts a meeting of the three Baltic states plus Germany.

He said that in addition to bilateral issues, the talks in Berlin also covered the ratification process for the Treaty of Lisbon agreed on in 2007 to reform the European Union.(dpa)

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