Valionis encourages Black Sea countries to develop 'regional identity'

  • 2006-06-07
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - Acting Foreign Minister Antanas Valionis has emphasized that discussion over the Black Sea region should be conducted in a wider context, focusing on the area's future in Europe. The minister expressed this opinion during the Black Sea Forum for Dialogue and Partnership, which was held in Bucharest on June 5.

As a member of the European Union and NATO, Lithuania should help ensure that Europe does not become a "reservation" or a "museum for the rich," Valionis said. Rather, Europe should actively participate in global affairs as an open and dynamic community, he added.

The minister expressed disappointment over the current level of cooperation among Black Sea countries. The region's present efforts, he said, fall short of ensuring future objectives. Only by tackling and solving prolonged problems together, can the Black Sea countries learn to trust each other, Valionis added.

The main task, the minister pointed out, is for the Black Sea countries to develop their identity as a region. The first step toward accomplishing this is through shared experience, he said, adding that Black Sea nations should pool their efforts to create a civil society of new democracies. It is also important to strengthen cooperation between the EU and the United States, Valionis mentioned.