Teddy bear center of growing sanctions threat

  • 2012-08-14

VILNIUS - After the public statements made by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko over the teddy bear stunt, that Lithuania will “get plenty for it,” Klaipeda city seaport companies have raised concerns over possible economic sanctions, reports ELTA. However, the majority of them do not think that the neighboring country would take actions that would negatively affect their own economy, writes VE.lt.

“They should not be sitting as mice under the broom. We are waiting on them to inform us why they allowed using their space for the violation of the state border of another country. Lithuania may rest assured that there will be plenty for it,” said the Belarusian dictator, regarding an alleged violation of Belarusian airspace a plane on July 4.

It is presumed that Belarus may start implementing economic sanctions. For example, a large part of the Belarusian cargo that is currently shipped via Klaipeda might be directed to the Latvian, Russian and Ukrainian ports. Belarusian cargo makes up one third of the cargo transported at the port of Klaipeda city.

“The harm to neighboring relations is a bad thing. I even find it difficult to comment on. Such behavior is ugly. I think that companies in the Klaipeda city seaport should carry on working as before and continue creating excellent conditions for Belarusian goods, while politicians should resolve political issues. I think that common sense will eventually prevail,” said General Director of Klaipeda Stevedoring Company Audrius Pauza.

According to Pauza, if Belarus takes sanctions against Lithuania, it may incur considerable financial losses, because one third of the cargo shipped at the port of Klaipeda - about 12 million tons, is Belarusian. The financial loss may amount to around 260.6 million euros.

“I think that Lukashenko wants to involve Lithuania into a conflict artificially. I do not think that this incident could become a pretext to divert cargo elsewhere. It would not be beneficial to Belarus itself. I do not think anything should happen because of some teddy bears. Bigger problems would occur if Sweden (…) in response appealed to Brussels. Then it may again start talking about economic sanctions against Belarus,” says Chief Executive Officer, Klaipeda State Seaport Authority Eugenijus Gentvilas.