Linkevičius: We may not close our eyes to what is happening in Belarus and Russia
On 3 April in Luxembourg, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius attended the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council, which discussed the situation in Syria, Yemen and Libya.
In the meeting, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister drew his counterparts’ attention to the recent events in Belarus and Russia. “We must closely observe the situation and respond with integrity, in the case of violence or a clear violation of human rights. We hope that Belarus will not return to the situation when there were political prisoners in the country. If this happens, we should also go back to discussing sanctions,” said Linkevičius.
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister also reminded that in the EU’s dialogue with Russia we must make more intensive use of contacts with Russian civil society and informed about his recent meeting in Washington, D.C., with the Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza, who was receiving a treatment in the U.S.A., and about the annual Vilnius Russia Forum.
In Luxembourg, Linkevičius also met with Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations. Lithuania’s Foreign Minister stressed that the construction of the nuclear power plant (NPP) in Lithuania’s neighbourhood had become a national security issue, thus Linkevičius thanked the Commissioner for dedicating attention to the Astravets NPP, expressing his belief that this issue would remain part of the EU-Belarus political dialogue. According to Lithuania’s Foreign Minister, despite the agenda approved by the Council, issues related to the Eastern Partnership should constantly be on our radar.
Prior to the meeting, the Foreign Ministers discussed the situation in Moldova. Moldova’s Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Andrei Galbur participated in the discussion. Linkevičius stressed that Moldova’s intentions to develop relations with Russia should not affect the implementation of the Association Agreement. Moldova must continue to play an active role in implementing judicial reform, fighting against corruption and money laundering, ensuring media freedom.
For more information about the meeting, please read here.