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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 9,671 8,406 7,500 94
GNI per capita
 US $ 4,070 3,480 3,230 79
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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Area ( 


ethnic groups 
Latvians 52.0%
Russians 34%
Belarusians 4.5%



Mrs Vaira 


Update No: 292- (26/04/05)

President Vike-Freiberga appointed U.N. envoy
President Vaira Vike-Freiberga is acquiring the aura of a world statesman, or rather stateswoman. President Bush is expected to visit Riga before going on to attend in mid-May ceremonies in Moscow to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. She will be attending too, the only Baltic state leader to do so.
She is also appreciated by the UN, which has just given her a special assignment, to become one of five UN envoys to disseminate reforms to the world body.
"As Latvia's head of state, President Vike-Freiberga has actively supported the need for U.N. reform. Elected to a second term in office in 2003, she has successfully guided her nation through a period of active reforms, leading to full membership in EU and NATO," the secretary-general's press service wrote. 
"The secretary-general wishes to express his profound gratitude to her excellency for having agreed to take on this challenging assignment and invest her time, energy and political wisdom in assisting him in his efforts," the letter continued. 
Along with the Latvian president, Annan has also appointed as envoys Ireland's Minister of Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern, former Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas, former President of Mozambique Joaquin Chissano and former president of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo. 
At the end of March, Annan proposed that the General Assembly implement comprehensive U.N. reforms, which would include increasing the number of security council members from 15 to 24 in order to better meet the world's needs in the 21st century. Annan also proposed measures for reaching such U.N. Millennium Declaration targets as halving poverty in the next 10 years and advancing human rights and freedoms. 
The new U.N. envoys will visit various countries of the world, promoting the ideas of U.N. reforms among political leaders, representatives of civil society, scientists and the mass media. 
The summit will take place in New York Sept. 14th - 16th, shortly before the opening of the General Assembly session, dedicated to the U.N.'s 60th anniversary. 

Territorial concessions to Russia
In another move to improve strained Latvian-Russian relations, ahead of her Moscow trip, Vike-Freiberga told the local LTV television channel on April 14th that Latvia had passed a political decision to give up its claims to the Pytalovo district of Russia's Pskov region. The district became part of Russia after World War II. She said that Latvia was ready to abandon its pre-war frontiers when it seals a border treaty with Russia. 
"Finland lost Karelia. I assume that at some stage Estonia will also have to follow this path. One should be pragmatic in deciding what is good for the state, and a bold political decision should simply be made," the Latvian president emphasized. 
Vike-Freiberga also thinks that a referendum on a border treaty with Russia is unnecessary. Earlier, the Association of Arbene Residents (Arbene is the Latvian name for Pytalovo) demanded no concessions on Arbene and called for a national referendum on its future. 
Arbene was one of Latvia's administrative districts under the 1920 Peace Treaty. It became part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic after World War II. 

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Latvia identifies key areas for technical assistance to Moldova

Latvia's Policy Plan for Development Cooperation 2005 envisages that one of the activities of Latvia's development cooperation policy is rendering technical assistance to developing and transition economies; Moldova is one of the priority states to receive such assistance, a special online report said recently.
Representatives from Latvian institutions were on a visit to Moldova from March 29th to April 3rd to identify future areas of cooperation where Latvia could share its experience in carrying out reforms. They were there after on an invitation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Moldova.
During the visit, experts from Latvia's Ministry of foreign Affairs and 12 other administrative institutions met with Moldavian public and private sector representatives and discussed Latvia's experience of integration into the European Union. They also identified areas of cooperation and possible ways of rendering assistance. The experts assessed the situation in Moldova with respect to customs, border control, state language, judiciary, insolvency process, prison system and other issues to assist the ministry of foreign affairs in formulating priority areas of assistance and elaborating a strategy of cooperation with Moldova.
A representative of the UN Development Programme will also visit the country to get acquainted with activities of other foreign donors to Moldova, the report said.
A country can support transferring of knowledge and experience in a specific areas that the other party considers essential for its development within the framework of technical assistance.
By establishing bilateral cooperation with Moldova for rendering development assistance, Latvia will ensure successful representation of its own interests and will develop mutually beneficial cooperation in economy, science and culture.
Latvia has already provided technical assistance to some other developing and transition economies on pension reform and the social security system, local government financial system, nature protection, customs, application of information technology and management systems, as well as issues of energy and transportation statistics.
Latvia's experience in the transitional period is of particular significance for countries that lag behind Latvia with respect to progress in the reform process. While planning such activities for further development, the countries like Moldova can take into consideration the experience of Latvia to avoid some of the potholes on the way.

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