Vaitiekunas calls for EU unity on Russia

  • 2008-09-03
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - Lithuanian Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas has called for a strengthening of the European Union and Lithuania, rather than an aggressive stance against Russia.
"From my point of view, the most important thing we should seek is a unified EU position 's it is clear that the conflict will not end soon. It is vital to think positive, not negative. It is important to think about ways to make the EU and Lithuania stronger and more unified with a focus on security topics, particularly energy security, rather than consider ways of punishing Russia. This is needed to implement concrete plans that enhance the security of the EU and Lithuania," Vaitiekunas said.

Vaitiekunas said Russia should receive clear signals from the EU that the use of force to solve problems is unacceptable.
"The EU should also transmit the signals via international organizations to make them comprehensible and clear to both Russia and Georgia. The EU solution should accentuate territorial integrity, the Sarkozy-Medvedev peace plan and the donor conference for the destroyed infrastructure," Vaitiekunas added.
The chairman of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, Justinas Karosas, said it was important to reach common ground on the "difficult" matter.

"I believe that speaking together would have a bigger effect in the solution to the conflict. The solution cannot be unilateral. If one side behaves in an imperially aggressive manner, the efforts of the other side will be in vain. In this phase, the discussion's primary focus will be on political instruments; no specific decisions will probably be made in this case," Karosas said.

He emphasized that strict and "radical" rhetoric toward Russia should be avoided.
"If we aim for a common EU stance, the strictness will not do good service for such a position. As not all EU countries 's such countries make up the minority 's speak the radical political language, they most often use reserved political language. I believe such language is far more efficient than strict political rhetoric," Karosas said.

He said that although Russia hasn't responded to diplomatic gestures and has begun an arms race, the EU should not follow suit.
Karosas acknowledged Russia's failure to hear the "diplomatic" tone and started using the "language of weapons" at the same time stressing that it was not a reason for the EU to take over the speaking manner of the "aggressive partner."

The chairman of the European Affairs Committee, Andrius Kubilius, said that Lithuania should base its relations on the provision that Russia's military aggression is a real possibility.
"Until now, our foreign policy in the relations with Russia was based on the belief that armed aggression against the Baltic states and the EU was not something we should expect from Russia. We should abandon the illusion," said Kubilius.
He thinks the EU should think about long-term changes in its ties with Russia and start using "clear-cut and legal language."

"The EU should start speaking in very clear terms: occupation and annexation. This should lead to very clear proposals on the EU's conduct in response to Russia's failure to comply with international legal standards and its obligations. The EU should be principled and tough because in the opposite case 's if the EU decides to stick with diplomatic language 's Russia will understand it as a sanction for continuing with its aggression," Kubilius said.