President calls PM's proposal on Russia commission 'irresponsible'

Saulius Skvernelis, Dalia Grybauskaitė

President Dalia Grybauskaitė on Thursday described as "irresponsible" Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis' proposal that a Lithuania-Russia bilateral intergovernmental commission should resume its activities.

According to the president, key strategic energy, transport or trade issues have to be dealt with with the participation of EU institutions.

"The weight of EU institutions is used in addressing key strategic energy, transport or trade issues. Therefore, reviving bilateral activities of 'commissions' serves no purpose and is irresponsible from the point of view of national security," she said in a comment forwarded to BNS by her press office.

In Grybauskaitė's words, bilateral top-level political contacts can take place with countries demonstrating friendly relations.

"Russia, meanwhile, is breaking international law, conducting an aggressive military, information and cyber policy towards its neighbors. It would be naive to imagine that economic relations detached from politics are possible with that country. Russia has always used energy, trade and other instruments as a means of exerting political pressure and increasing its influence on other countries. Our experience only confirms this," she said.

The president's comment came a few hours after Skvernelis said that the Lithuania-Russia intergovernmental commission, which held its last meeting more than six years ago, could resume its activities.

Skvernelis, who has proposed to resume political contacts with Moscow, says that the Lithuania-Russia dialog could cover trade relations and energy, agriculture and transport issues, as well as the situation of Lithuanian teachers in the Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad.

The commission, headed by ministers, held its last meeting in Lithuania in October 2011.

Diplomats say that the issue of re-establishing the commission was discussed back in 2013, but it was decided that Russia's position on Lithuania's gas market reform, unfavorable for Gazprom, was unacceptable, and the commission did not convene.

Source: BNS
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