RIGA - Latvia and Lithuania are united not only by their historical ties but also by common work in the European Union (EU) and NATO, Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) said following a meeting with visiting Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte on Friday.
Karins indicated that his talks with the Lithuanian counterpart covered a number of topics important to both countries, including the overall security situation in the Baltic region and both countries' firm support for NATO. The two prime ministers also discussed investments in national and collective defense.
The prime ministers of Latvia and Lithuania discussed the Rail Baltica railway project, which in Karins' words is important to the two countries in the future perspective. The project is expected to affect both economic growth and full reintegration in Europe. While discussing the planned synchronization of the Baltic electric networks, both Latvia and Lithuania expressed commitment to completing the project as scheduled or even sooner.
Karins noted that the talks also touched on some unresolved issues between Latvia and Lithuania, like electricity trade with third countries. The Latvian prime minister underlined that on the political level there is unanimity that the disagreements are about pure technicalities, which have yet to resolved. Karins indicated that the governments, relevant ministries and experts will keep working on these issues.
Simonyte pointed out that her visit to Latvia takes place in June, which has been a hard month in the history of the Baltic nations and that these painful events of the pasts were recently commemorated. In Simonyte's words, these are events that cut 50 years of development from the history of the Baltic states.
The Lithuanian prime minister thanked the Latvian government for easing travel restrictions, noting that the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and vaccine rollout have been dominating the agenda for the past months, and that Latvia and Lithuania have been cooperating on these matters both bilaterally and and in the format of EU ministers. However, Simonyte added that there are other issues that are more important for the future.
The talks between the two prime ministers also focused on the geopolitical situation, security and defense. The Lithuanian prime minister said that threats have not disappeared even though the Baltic states are now as safe as ever, because the geopolitical situation is complicated. She also thanked Latvia and other European countries for the support expressed for Lithuania after the incident in which a Vilnius-bound passenger flight was forcibly landed in Minsk.
We have to live next to regimes where human rights, press freedom are not considered important. On the one hand, we need to take care of our security. We have to talk about it in one voice in international formats. The countries of our region and the whole EU will not give up our value positions. We will continue to work together so that Belarusian citizens regained their rights to decide their destiny and ensure their own security, Simonyte said.