Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis: “Concessions made to aggressive politics will only increase tensions and aggression”
On 13 January, during an informal meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the European Union (Gymnich) in Brest, France, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Gabrielius Landsbergis together with EU Foreign Ministers discussed the the security situation in the European Union’s Eastern Neighbourhood and the EU's work on a Strategic Compass, which seeks to provide an enhanced politico-strategic direction for EU security and defence.
“Due to Russia’s aggressive policy, the situation in Eastern Europe remains extremely tense: Russia further amasses its troops near the border with Ukraine, the military conflict in eastern Ukraine continues. The country continues to violate international law, lays out new demands for the Euro-Atlantic community regarding the supposed threat to Russia’s security, while security threats originate primarily from Russia," said Landsbergis. According to Lithuania’s Foreign Minister, the Euro-Atlantic community must not succumb to Russia's blackmail and unjustified demands or give in to aggressive behaviour.
“We have to finally learn the lessons of history that conceding to aggressive politics may only increase tensions and lead to more aggression," said the Foreign Minister.
Landsbergis also noted that it was equally important to deepen the EU-NATO cooperation in order to ensure an effective deterrence policy, strengthening NATO’s eastern flank and helping to boost the resilience of eastern neighbours and their societies to external threats.
As regards the security situation in Ukraine, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister agreed that no decisions should be taken without Ukraine. "The people of Ukraine won the battle for the European path back in 2014. They paid and are still paying a high price for their European choice. Thus, we can't slam the door on them," said Landsbergis. The EU must not only strengthen cooperation and dialogue with Ukraine in the field of security and defence, but also be ready to take strong political and economic measures, including individual sanctions, should Russia decide to move to military action.
“With regard to Belarus, we must follow the agreed policy and principles, avoid any action that would legalise Lukashenko's regime or its actions, including a planned constitutional referendum. This referendum is Lukashenko's another attempt to legitimise his regime," said Landsbergis, who also stressed the need to maintain pressure on the Belarusian regime, including the preparation of new sanctions, regarding the release of political prisoners, and the holding of new democratic and transparent elections.
During the Foreign and Defence Ministers' discussion about the Strategic Compass, Landsbergis stressed that the document should realistically reflect the current geopolitical context, clearly identifying the main threats and challenges, highlighting the importance of transatlantic and other partners, and enabling them to participate in joint security and defence projects.
Photo: The European Council