Belarus, Latvia sign agreement on local border traffic

Under the agreement, a special local border traffic permit would allow people who reside in the border area in Belarus and Latvia to travel to the other country without a visa.

A Belarusian-Latvian interstate agreement on local border traffic was signed in Riga on August 23, BelaPAN reports.

Under the agreement, a special local border traffic permit would allow people who reside in the border area in Belarus and Latvia to travel to the other country without a visa. Such people would pay €20 to get the permit, valid for between one and five years.

The agreement would apply to, among others, the Belarusian cities of Braslaw, Verkhnyadzvinsk, Myory and Vidzy and the Latvian cities of Daugavpils, Dagda, Zilupe and Kraslava.

The agreement will take effect after the completion of internal procedures in the two countries.

While in Riga, Mr. Martynaw met with Latvian President Valdis Zatlers, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis, Foreign Minister Aivis Ronis and Transport Minister Kaspars Gerhards.

Messrs. Martynaw and Zatlers discussed the prospects for expanding Belarusian-Latvian political and economic cooperation, said the press office of the Belarusian foreign ministry.

The meeting with Mr. Dombrovskis focused on a broad range of issues relating to trade and economic cooperation and cooperation in the investment, transport and transit spheres, the power generation industry and the manufacturing sector, the press office said. Messrs. Martynaw and Dombrovskis also discussed joint preparations for Belarus' national exhibition to be held in Riga between September 22 and 25 and for Baltic Region 2010, an international Belarusian-Latvian investment forum.

During their meeting, Messrs. Martynaw and Ronis discussed a whole range of issues relating to the development of bilateral cooperation, including cooperation within international organizations. The foreign ministers also discussed the prospects for cooperation between Belarus and the European Union and cooperation in the framework of the Eastern Partnership program.

The prospects of transport and transit cooperation were discussed during Mr. Martynaw's meeting with Mr. Gerhards, who co-chairs a Belarusian-Latvian interstate commission for economic, scientific and technical cooperation, the press office said. An agreement was reached to step up the work of the commission, which is to hold its next meeting in September.

At the end of his stay in Latvia, Mr. Martynaw visited the Free Port of Riga, where he met with Riga's vice mayor, Ainars Shlesers and the port's executive director, Leonid Loginov. A "substantive" discussion was held about the prospects of specific bilateral transshipment projects, the press office said.