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Clinton Urges Latvia to Resolve Jewish Property Restitution

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urges Latvia to resolve the restitution of pre-World War II Jewish property “quickly and fairly.”
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 6/28/2012, 9:23 PM

Clinton and Rinkevics
Clinton and Rinkevics
Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged Latvia to resolve the restitution of pre-World War II Jewish property “quickly and fairly.”

Calling the issue a “piece of unfinished historical business,” Clinton spoke to reporters Thursday at a joint news conference held together in Riga with Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (Reform Party).

"The United States strongly supports restitution to those whose property was confiscated – either by the Nazis or the Communists," Clinton said. "This is an unfinished historical matter. I also value efforts by the Latvian government in finding a solution to this issue.”

Clinton underscored that it was in everyone's interest to find a “quick and fair solution to this matter.” Nevertheless, she acknowledged that Latvia's government is attempting to address the issue.

Rinkevics commented that the government has a “very good” dialogue with the local Jewish community.

He noted that individuals whose parents or grandparents owned property in Latvia before WWII, have had the opportunity to regain these properties during the denationalization process. At the moment, discussions are talking place regarding properties owned by Jewish organizations in pre-war Latvia – religious buildings, community buildings etc.

"We support the Jewish community,” he said, but noted “it is not always possible to return certain buildings," adding that compensation is also possible.

At the same time, Rinkevics explained that discussions continue, “because this matter is very complicated legally, emotionally and historically.”  He emphasized that discussions with the Jewish community will continue in order to find a solution to the matter.