The U.S. Senate has unanimously agreed to a resolution honoring Latvia on the 90th anniversary of its declaration of independence and calling on the president to ask Russia to acknowledge that the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states was illegal.
The resolution, introduced June 9 by Republican Sen. Gordon H. Smith of Oregon and Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, was discharged by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Sept. 16 and adopted the same day by the full Senate. The committee’s action came a day before it was scheduled to hear testimony about Russia’s aggression against Georgia.
The resolution specifically calls on the U.S. president and the secretary of state “to urge the government of the Russian Federation to acknowledge that the Soviet occupation of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and for the succeeding 51 years was illegal.”
The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, signed in August 1939 by German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, included a secret protocol that allowed the Soviet Union to extend its sphere of influence over the Baltic states.
The resolution also “commends the government of Latvia for its success in implementing political and economic reforms, for establishing political, religious and economic freedom, and for its strong commitment to human and civil rights.”
A similar resolution introduced July 31 in the House of Representatives does not ask the president or the secretary of state to seek Russian anknowledgement of the illegality of the Soviet Occupation. That resolution, H. Res. 1405, remains under review by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
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