Lietuva in brief - 2008-09-03

  • 2008-09-03
The European Union has postponed talks with Russia on a strategic partnership treaty until Russia withdraws from Georgia, Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus told journalists after an emergency meeting of the European Council in Brussels Monday evening. "If I had to evaluate the European Council meeting in general, it was delightful," Adamkus said, adding that specific sanctions against Russia would be discussed by EU foreign ministers. He said the EU is getting closer with Europe's Eastern neighbors and highlighted the issue of energy dependence on Russian resources. Officials will fly to Moscow shortly to put forward the EU stance.

Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said the European Council's decision to postpone the strategic partnership talks with Russia is a well-balanced move caused by energy challenges. "Undoubtedly, energy is a key factor in this situation. It seems to me that the European Council passed a rather well-balanced decision: it warned Russia but did not terminate the dialogue with Russia, and it is very important to the European Union, Russia and the world in general," Kirkilas said. He said that he did not think there was "a single country or a single leader who would want us to go into cold war." He added: "This would be harmful to economies of all countries and, first of all, people would be affected. I hope that Russian leaders will also get back on track."

Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas appointed Algimantas Jankauskas as his new energy adviser to replace Saulius Specius, who has been chosen for the board of the national investment company Leo LT. Jankauskas, 55, has worked as director general of the Aleksotas glassworks and the Ausra printing house, as well as general affairs director at Vakaru Skirstomieji Tinklai.

Lithuanian customs officials have apprehended a shipment of smuggled cigarettes hidden in a truck carrying grain out of Lithuania. Three Poles and a Lithuanian attempted to smuggle 83,000 litas (24,000 euros) worth of cigarettes under a thick layer of grain. The four men were busted as they attempted to hide 49 boxes (24,500 packs) of Russian  Jin Ling brand cigarettes in the truck in a village near Marijampole. Customs officers said this was one of the most inventive ways of concealing smuggled cigarettes they had seen. Over the first half of 2008, the Customs Criminal Service has found over 16 million smuggled cigarettes in Lithuania.

A catamaran with three Russians and one German aboard was brought adrift to Lithuania Friday evening from Russia's Kaliningrad exclave by heavy winds. They couldn't control the catamaran and were thrown off towards the south-western Lithuanian district of Vilkaviskis, the State Border Guard Service said in a release. Three Russian citizens, a 43-year-old woman and two men, 18 and 22, as well as a German citizen, 72, were detained by border security. Legal proceedings have been launched regarding illegal crossing of a state border due to carelessness.

A Latvian truck driver ran down an elderly man in the city Kalvarija. The accident occurred when the deceased suddenly walked on the road. The police report said the man was hit in a traffic lane by the Volvo FH12, which was pulling a trailer.