VILNIUS – Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte has thanked Poland’s Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau for Warsaw’s assistance in evacuating Afghan interpreters, who had worked with Lithuania's military contingent, and their family members from Kabul.
“It was an exemplary joint mission completed by the military and diplomats of our two countries,” she said.
Ten Lithuanian troops and a diplomat evacuated 34 Afghan interpreters, who had worked with Lithuania's military contingent, and their family members –176 people in total – from Afghanistan over five days.
Afghan interpreters and their family members were flown to Lithuania due to the danger to their lives in the wake of the Taliban's takeover of Kabul and the ouster of the Afghan national government.
While implementing this mission, Lithuania was assisted by Poland and other European Union’s (EU) countries.
Simonyte and the Polish minister also discussed the development of joint infrastructure projects, bilateral cooperation in addressing the issues of regional security and the challenges of irregular migration, strengthening of bilateral relations and economic cooperation, Eastern Partnership, and the EU’s relations with Russia.
The Lithuanian prime minister thanked Poland for its solidarity and support in the face of the challenges of irregular migration.
“The geopolitical and security situation in the region requires the closest possible cooperation between Lithuania and Poland in the field of security and defense,” she said.
Over 4,100 migrants have crossed into Lithuania from Belarus illegally so far this year, compared to just 81 in all of 2020. Vilnius accuses the Minsk regime of orchestrating the influx, calling it "hybrid aggression".
Neighboring Poland and Latvia have seen an increase in illegal crossings after Lithuanian border guards started pushing migrants back to Belarus.
Simonyte emphasized that the Belarusian regime continued to pose a threat both to its citizens and to the EU as a whole.
The Lithuanian prime minister and the Polish foreign minister also talked about the threats emerging due to Russia’s aggressive policies and stressed the important role of the Polish minority in Lithuania and of the Lithuanian minority in Poland in bringing the two countries closer together.