VILNIUS – Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis says to be surprised by the United Nations’ comments to Lithuania concerning the suspension of Belarusian fertilizer transit.
“In general, I am surprised by such a report. The impression is that the experts who wrote that report are not aware of the fact that the European Union’s (EU) sanctions have been introduced both against the products and against the company itself [Belaruskali],” he told BNS on Wednesday.
In its report published early this month, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) called on Lithuania to review the decision to ban the transit of Belarusian fertilizers, arguing that it leads to a shortage of fertilizers in Africa and Latin America.
According to the committee, the restrictions resulted “in shortage of fertilizers and negatively impacted food security in those countries”.
Lithuania stopped the transit of Belarusian fertilizers via its territory in February 2022, citing international sanctions and risks to national security as the reason.
Belaruskali products made up the bulk of Belarusian fertilizer exports and were shipped abroad by rail through Lithuania and then via its seaport of Klaipeda.
The existing EU sanctions on Belarusian fertilizers were imposed in several rounds before Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Trade restrictions on those fertilizers are also applied by the United States.
According to Landsbergis, the arguments that restrictions on exports of Belarusian fertilizers have led to risks to food security do not sound convincing to him as EU farmers, on the contrary, speak about a decrease in grain prices.
“I wouldn’t see some kind of challenges for food security, based on economic indicators,” he said.