Lithuanian MPs reject idea of transit corridor

  • 2004-09-09
  • By The Baltic Times
VILNIUS 's Parliament decided on Friday to categorically reject the establishment of a free transit corridor between the neighboring Kaliningrad region and Russia via European Union's territory.

In an unanimously vote (58 for and 0 against), the Seimas rejected the resolution On Cooperation with Kaliningrad Region of the Russian Federation, which was made in response to a request by Russia to the European Union. "This resolution is not for in-country use, it is designed to strengthen our positions abroad," Parliamentary Speaker Arturas Paulauskas said. The resolution will consolidate Lithuania's position before a meeting of the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council next week. In May 2003 Russia proposed that transit to Kaliningrad via Lithuanian territory would be carried out under Russian laws and be considered Russia's internal transit. "We state that efforts to adopt exceptions to the EU acquis on Russian transit, allowing establishment of a transit corridor, run counter the interests of the state of Lithuania," the document reads. "Apparently, there are efforts of the kind in the European Union as well. Our diplomats are concerned about it," Andrius Kubilius, elder of the oppositional Homeland Union - Conservatives faction, said at the parliamentary meeting. Under the EU-Russian agreement dated July 1 2003, Russian citizens traveling by transit trains to and from the Kaliningrad region must have facilitated railway transit documents.