Russia suggests forgive and forget

  • 2000-07-27
VILNIUS (BNS) - Russia's ambassador to Lithuania, Yuri Zubakov, sees Lithuania in a different light than the other two Baltic states and proposes Lithuanians forget the past and the wrongs committed.

"Russians and Lithuanians understand that without one another things would be difficult. Everyone wants to have a neighbor who, in the moment of need, can be relied upon," the ambassador told the Lithuanian daily Lietuvos Rytas in an interview. Each Baltic state has started to take on its own image in the eyes of Moscow recently, he said.

"Each has its own individual features, and there are nuances in their relationships with Russia, too," he said.

Zubakov said Russian-Lithuanian relations are also distinguished by the visa-free travel regime to and from the Kaliningrad Oblast, the sole Russian territory (divided from Russia by Lithuania and Belarus) where Lithuanians don't need a visa.

The ambassador said he believes Russia should conclude treaties with Lithuania on the demarcation of state borders, investment protection and the avoidance of double taxation immediately.

The Treaty on the Delimitation of Borders, the Continental Shelf and Economic Zones in the Baltic Sea between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Lithuania was signed by Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas and Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1997. Lithuania's parliament ratified it in autumn of 1999.

The ambassador said efforts are needed so that "two equally sovereign states can expand normal neighborly relations."

The diplomat repeated Russia's hard line on Lithuanian NATO membership. "Our position on Lithuanian NATO membership is strictly negative. We know there are other national defence methods that could guarantee security,"

Zubakov said. He said Russia wasn't against Lithuania joining the EU, commenting "that's normal economic relations."