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Latvian MPs contest border treaty with Russia in court

RIGA, March 29 (RIA Novosti) - A group of Latvian parliament members have filed a lawsuit with the country's Constitutional Court Thursday contesting the signing of the border treaty with Russia, a spokesman for the parliament said.

Russian and Latvian Prime Ministers Mikhail Fradkov and Aigars Kalvitis signed the border treaty in Moscow March 27, ending a drawn-out period of contention between the two post-Soviet neighbors.

By signing the treaty, EU member Latvia officially recognized the post-Soviet borders with Russia, backtracking on its earlier territorial claims on a district in the neighboring Russian region of Pskov, which was part of the Baltic state before World War II.

The twenty-one members of parliament, who filed the lawsuit, claimed that the treaty violates Latvia's Constitution and the country's government had no right to sign the treaty without a referendum. Under the constitution all territorial changes should be approved by the people.

The deputies said the government should have asked Latvians if they supported the decision to give up the country's claims for the Pytalovsky District in the Pskov Region in exchange for an improvement in political and economic ties with Moscow.

The Constitutional Court will decide whether to consider the case or not within a month.

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