Foreign minister calls for solidarity toward the East

  • 2008-09-10
  • By TBT staff and wire reports
VILNIUS - Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas said that the time has come for major decisions on relations with the European Union's Eastern neighbors, including issues such as Georgia, energy and visa deals.
Speaking at the informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in France, Vaitiekunas stressed the importance of implementing energy projects that would boost the bloc's energy independence. The minister also mentioned the significance of the EU's internal electricity and gas links.

"On Sep. 8, the European Council made many important decisions, which now we have to implement promptly," Vaitiekunas said.
Vaitiekunas reiterated the problems related with the planned decommissioning of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, which would leave Lithuania with an energy deficit.

Vaitiekunas underlined the necessity of making all necessary decisions for the enhancement of the EU's relations with Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Belarus, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported.
He said it's vital to take seriously the EU membership prospects of Ukraine, improve the quality of EU relations with Moldova and reassess the relations with Belarus. The minister spoke in support of a visa-free travel plan for Ukraine.

In his statement about Georgia, the Lithuanian diplomat called for the implementation of the decisions made at the European Council on Monday: to hold the Donor Conference and delegate a mission of European security and defense policy specialists to Georgia at the earliest convenience.
Vaitiekunas suggested that the conference be held in Tbilisi by mid-October. "The European Union should also discuss and make proposals regarding autonomy models of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as part of Georgia," said the minister.

"Furthermore, we have to pass political decisions over facilitated visa procedures and enhanced free trade agreements with Georgia," Vaitiekunas said.
The Lithuanian diplomacy chief said the decision to postpone the strategic partnership treaty negotiations with Russia was the correct move, urging to subject EU-Russia relations to a thorough analysis. "We cannot speak about the future of the ties until we have a clear picture of what the relations are today," stressed Vaitiekunas.

Neighboring Belarus is approaching a controversial election and is under international pressure to be more open with the West.
"Unless the situation in Belarus parliament elections changes and opposition members are admitted to electoral districts, Belarus opposition will ask that the world doesn't recognize its non-democratically elected parliament," said Deputy Chairman of Belarusian Popular Front Vincuk Viacorka on Friday.
Together with other Belarus opposition leaders, Viacorka attended international seminar 'European Neighborhood Policy: Belarusian Parliamentary Elections 2008 - A Democratic Choice?' in the House of Parliament, Vilnius.

This international event, attended by foreign political scientists, diplomats and European Parliament officials, was dedicated to the parliamentary elections due in late September.
Alexander Lukashenko-led Belarus has no elections, Veciorka said. "They are the same as they used to be. Our representatives are not admitted in the electoral districts committee. This signifies that the authorities are gearing up for falsifications," he said.