VILNIUS – Lithuania expects that "the transatlantic mistrust" will be overcome amid a diplomatic row between the United States and France over a failed submarine deal.
"My hope is that we will manage to overcome the transatlantic mistrust, because it is in the interest of both Europe and America, and indeed, in the interest of the world," Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Arnoldas Pranckevicius told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday.
"For Lithuania, what is most important is to keep transatlantic unity, because we believe that this is our biggest strength and biggest value," he said ahead of the EU General Affairs Council's meeting.
Pranckevicius said unity was especially important in relations with Russia and China, and in joint action on climate change, global trade and security.
Tensions between Paris and Washington broke out last week when Australia cancelled a billion-dollar contract for French submarines.
Canberra has formed a new defense alliance, AUKUS, with the US and the UK and announced plans to buy American nuclear-powered submarines.
In response, Paris has recalled its ambassadors to Canberra and Washington.
'CRISIS NOT OVER'
The EU General Affairs Council is on Tuesday discussing preparations for the European Council's late October meeting where Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda plans to raise issues of illegal migration across the border with Belarus.
"The crisis is not over," Pranckevicius said. "We need to work on solutions in the future to make sure that member states have instruments in place in order to deal with such issues as hybrid attacks from the third countries in instrumentalizing migration for political purposes."
Lithuania has for some time been calling on the European Union to review its migration policy to enable the bloc's member states to respond to hybrid threats in an appropriate and timely manner.
Last week, Vilnius and Warsaw signed an agreement to jointly seek changes to the EU's migration policy.
Lithuania and Poland have been facing an influx of irregular migrants from Belarus in recent months. Vilnius and Warsaw accuse the Minsk regime of orchestrating the influx, calling it "hybrid aggression".
Almost 4,200 migrants, mostly from the Middle East and Africa, have crossed into Lithuania from Belarus illegally so far this year.