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April 18, 1993

The Hon. Max van der Stoel

Office of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities

Prinsessegracht 22

P.O. Box 20062

2500 EB The Hague

The Netherlands,

Dear Mr. van der Stoel,

The Republic of Latvia Ministry of Foreign Affairs presents its compliments to the Office of the CSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and has the honour to refer to the following issue.

We appreciate the great interest expressed by the CSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities which is carried out in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Helsinki Document, 1992 and the Summary of Conclusions of the Stockholm Council Meeting, 1992, as well as your great personal interest, as expressed during your visit of April 1 & 2, 1992, concerning the current situation in Latvia which is a consequence of the long years which Latvia suffered under Soviet occupation.

The evaluations and suggestions which you have provided in your introductory letter and the attached conclusions and recommendations are carefully being examined by the respective Government institutions of Latvia.

Most of your conclusions appear to be reasonably grounded, especially those concerning the lack of a new citizenship law in Latvia. As you know, the current Latvia Supreme Council is a transitional parliament and has no legal mandate under the restored 1922 Latvia Constitution to change the body of Latvia citizenship through naturalization or other means. This legal mandate will be held by the newly-elected Saelma which is being elected on June 5 and 6 1993. Thus, one of the most urgent tasks for the new Saelma will be to adopt a complete citizenship law which will include provisions for naturalization. Your recommendations will certainly be presented to the Saelma members.

Regarding the proposal for the establishment of a "National Commissioner on Ethnic and Language Questions" Office, it should be noted that this question involves careful examination and probably cannot be implemented until the new Government is formed. However, we would like to mention that the existing system of human rights protection in Latvia has not been exhausted and provides, in our opinion, sufficient avenues for problem-solving in this area.

We are confident that our further cooperation with the csce High Commissioner on National Minorities will be fruitful and valuable for all csce member states.

Please accept my highest considerations.

Sincerely yours,

Georgs Andrejevs, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Latvia