Baltic Republics

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th February 1992.

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Photo of Douglas Hogg Douglas Hogg Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) 12:00 am, 5th February 1992

The hon. Gentleman makes an important and serious point. There are ethnic minorities in all the Baltic republics. An encouraging agreement has been made between the Lithuanian Government and Poland on the ethnic Poles in Lithuania, which we support. There is a greater problem in relation to Estonia and Latvia, where there are substantial numbers of ethnic Russians. In the capital, Riga, ethnic Russians are in the majority. There are no proposals to vary frontiers. As the hon. Gentleman will know, we believe that frontiers should not be changed, save with the wholehearted consent of all the relevant parties. The issue of ethnic and minority rights is probably best addressed through the mechanism of the conference on security and co-operation in Europe. All three states have acceded to the CSCE.