RIGA, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Growing global instability and tensions between Russia on the one hand and the West and NATO on the other were in the focus of the annual Baltic Forum conference, which took place in Latvia's seaside resort Jurmala on Saturday.
Opening the conference "Russia-EU: the challenges of interdependence and the setting of a new agenda", Nils Usakovs, the leader of Latvia's opposition leftist Harmony party and mayor of the capital city Riga, said we are living in times increasingly resembling the Cold War era and it is therefore necessary to seek solutions for closer cooperation between countries to make conflicts impossible.
The Baltic Forum is already a success in that it brings participants from Europe, the United States and Russia to one table, Usakovs said, calling on participants of the forum to offer solutions that would make Western-Russian ties so close that they excluded the possibility of confrontation.
Andrejs Pildegovics, state secretary of the Latvian Foreign Ministry, said at the forum that relations between the European Union (EU) and Russia are currently at one of the lowest points ever.
The Foreign Ministry official indicated that when it comes to cross-border cooperation, Latvia and Russia have managed to maintain their relations in more or less "working order" and that travel intensity between the two neighbor countries has been showing promising signs again.
Meanwhile, a "downward spiral" has continued to dominate disagreements between Russia and the West on global geopolitical issues, as the most fundamental differences between the two sides still remain unsolved, the Foreign Ministry official admitted, adding that the situation with the so called frozen conflicts has been showing deterioration rather than progress.
Igor Ivanov, president of the Russian International Affairs Council, who also spoke at the Baltic Forum, dismissed as untrue the notion that Moscow rejoices at every new problem plaguing Europe.
"I can assure you that this is not the case," Ivanov said, adding that Russia wants stable and predictable partners in Europe.
Referring to his last year's speech at the forum in which he spoke of Europe's decline and which was criticized as overly pessimistic, Ivanov said he would be glad to admit now that his predictions had been too pessimistic, but that he could not because none of Europe's numerous issues had been resolved over the past year.
"Each year of inaction makes the situation on the continent increasingly perilous," he said.
Indicating that the EU and NATO are not a monopoly for solving pressing issues, Ivanov called for a broader debate on Europe's future.
He suggested creating a strategic EU-Russian planning committee that would work out long-term solutions for Europe's future and wished to get over the current "dangerous phase" with as little losses as possible.