The visit of MEP Andrejs Mamikins to Syria falls in line with Russia’s geopolitical interests, said Chief of Latvia’s Security Police Normunds Mezviets in an interview to Rīta panorama.
He believes it was an event organized by Russia in order to express support to its neighbour’s actions. «It is unfortunate to see the involvement of a member of the European Parliament from Latvia in all this,» Mezviets said.
He emphasized that Latvia is a democratic country, and Mamikins can express any opinion he wants, but society should decide if such people should be allowed to be members of the European Parliament.
In Syria, Mamikins met with President Bashar al-Assad and assisted with humanitarian aid in the country.
During his three-day visit to Syria, Mamikins visited Aleppo and Damascus, met with representatives of the UN Office in Syria and the Red Cross, the governor of Aleppo, members of the parliament and religious leaders.
During the first day of the visit, Mamikins and fellow MEPs Yana Toom and Tatyana Zdanok assisted with distribution of humanitarian aid.
According to the MEP’s office, on the second day Mamikins participated in a meeting of the Syrian National Council’s foreign affairs meeting. Mamikins says he was particularly impressed by his conversation with National Reconciliation Minister Ali Haidar, who represents Syrian Social Nationalist Party, which is strict opposition to al-Assad, because «in 2012 his party, unlike other opposition parties formed a coalition with Assad’s Baas».
On the last day of the visit, MEPs were welcomed by the head of Syria’s Foreign Affairs Ministry and President Bashar al-Assad. «I cited to the Syrian president words spoken by Latvia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkevics about how Assad should be put under investigation process by the International Court. Syria’s president said in response that such politicians have as though climbed up a tree and now have no idea how to climb down, Mamikins wrote.
Five other MEPs joined Mamikins for the visit to Syria: Estonian MEP Yana Toom, Italian MEP Stefano Maullu, Latvian MEP Tatyana Zdanok, Spanish MEP Xavier Kouso Permis and another Italian MEP Fabio Massimo Castaldo. According to Mamikins, the MEP group in Syria represented the full spectrum of EP political groups. This group will form the core of next EP peace process. Ten other MEPs have expressed the desire to join this group.
Edgars Rinkevics had previously posted on his Facebook profile a photo with Mamikins’ letter to the minister. In it, the MEP informs the minister of his plans to meet with al-Assad. The minister emphasizes that in Latvia’s official opinion, representatives of the ruling regime in Syria should be held accountable for crimes committed against civilians.
«Any kinds of contacts, including meetings involving MEPs, with al-Assad can be considered support of actions of the Syrian regime – it is unacceptable,» Rinkevics wrote in his letter to Mamikins.