NATO meeting will be historic for achievements or missed opportunities – Lithuanian formin

  • 2023-06-20
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The forthcoming NATO summit in Vilnius will be historic either for its achievements or missed opportunities, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis says.

"Some people say the summit will in any case be historic. The only question is whether it will be historic because of its achievements or historic because of missed opportunities. Is there such a possibility (of becoming a meeting of missed opportunities - BNS)? It certainly exists," Landsbergis told reporters at the Seimas on Tuesday.

He also wants to believe that the remaining weeks "will allow us, as an alliance, to fill in those gaps and move towards a more historic summit in Vilnius", and that Ukraine will get a clear message on its NATO membership prospects.

"Lithuania is one of the 31 NATO member countries and we have a political position, we are defending it, we are helping Ukraine with all the instruments and all the forces that we have," Lithuania's top diplomat said.

Asked whether it was important for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to attend the Vilnius meeting, Landsbergis stressed that it was "of course, important".

"I hope he will attend", he said, commenting on doubts of whether the Ukrainian leader would attend the meeting, if his country was left without a clearer plan for NATO membership.

Ukraine expects clear NATO membership guarantees in Vilnius. Lithuania and the other eastern NATO countries are also in favor of a closer rapprochement between Kyiv and the Alliance, but the block has so far failed to agree on a clearer political commitment.

Lithuania's top diplomat also stressed that Lithuania also has its own interests in this meeting as it should be singled out as a sensitive region due to its geographical location and its borders with Russia and Belarus.

"We want to highlight our security challenges that have specifically to do with our geographical position, and as we have borders with both Russia and Belarus, we want this to be reflected through that prism," the foreign minister said.

The NATO summit in Vilnius will take place on July 11-12.