Foreign minister: indicators of non-political ties with Russia positive

Linas Linkevičius

Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius says that non-political ties with Russia are maintained and the necessary tasks are in progress, while political meetings make no sense at the moment.

He said that the work of the intergovernmental commission was halted in 2011 after receipt of "a list of alternative homework" as a precondition for the commission's meetings.

"We see no point in holding high-level political meetings at the moment, especially since they cannot solve anything additional, except for politicize the current situation, we have this type of experience already," the minister told Ziniu Radijas news radio on Wednesday morning.

Nevertheless, in Linkevičius' words, non-political cooperation in some fields is on the rise.

"When we look at what is going on with Russia on the non-political daily level, we have a very large number of all types of actions. To tell the truth, some of the indicators are even positive – let's say, we saw a nearly 30-percent increase in exports to Russia, regardless of the not so intensive relations and mutual sanctions. Tourism flows also swelled, visa centers are operating actively, some very important agreements have been signed. I want to point out the completion of the demarcation of the state border with Russia at the end of the year, the major work took 12 years, and the result has been finalized. We have virtually completed the negotiations on diplomatic real estate, etc., some border projects (are also in progress). Of course, the relationship cannot be described as intensive, however, the necessary work and the necessary contacts are in progress," said the minister.

Last Thursday, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis called for resumption of operations of the Lithuania-Russia intergovernmental commission after six years of idleness, an idea President Dalia Grybauskaitė dismissed as irresponsible.

In Linkevičius' words, the latest statements will serve as a lesson for the future when messages on foreign policy should only go public after meticulous harmonization.

Source: BNS
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