elarusian journalist Natallya Radzina has been granted asylum in neighboring Lithuania, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports. Radzina told the AFP news agency that she was informed of the decision on Sept 7. She said she would like to return to Belarus, “but can only do so when the situation changes.” Radzina, editor of the oppositional Charter97.org Web site, asked for asylum a month ago. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis asked the immigration department to agree to the request, hailing Charter97 as an excellent standard to follow for democratic change in Belarus. “A free media is an essential part of a democratic society. Journalists must be able to carry out their work without fear,” said Azubalis. Radzina was arrested after the presidential election in December 2010 and imprisoned in Minsk before she managed to flee to Moscow after being released on bail.
The Lithuanian Seimas speaker welcomes the European Commission’s decision to adopt the external energy strategy, which enables EU member states to stand together in talks with energy suppliers and prevent the application of “political prices” for individual countries, reports ELTA. The strategy of external energy policy may give new means for European Union member states to have talks with energy suppliers together. I think that the chosen mechanism would be beneficial to our people because it would prevent ‘political prices’ that have been paid for energy and its resources by Lithuania and other countries holding a principled position until now,” said Seimas Speaker Irena Degutiene. The Seimas speaker expects the strategy to lead to specific steps and a mechanism which would prevent Russia and other energy suppliers from “punishing” disobedient states with unreasonable prices. Degutiene raised the idea of setting up an EU gas purchasing agency at a meeting of parliamentary speakers of the Nordic and Baltic countries (NB8) in Reykjavik last summer.