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Published: 29 march 2020 21:13

Proposal to hold a meeting of the Committee on Foreign Affairs regarding improperly quarantined citizens and questionable humanitarian aid from China

Iš Kinijos atgabentos medicininės priemonės
Eriko Ovčarenko / 15min nuotr. / Chinese aid delivery

Žygimantas Pavilionis, Audronius Ažubalis, and Emanuelis Zingeris, members of the Seimas Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrat Political Group, addressed Juozas Bernatonis, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and, on the basis of Article 55.2 of the Statute of the Seimas that provides for the right to hold a committee meeting at the request of more than one third of the members of the Committee, request for a meeting of the Committee on Foreign Affairs to be held on Tuesday, 31 March 2020, during an intermission between the Seimas plenary sittings.

Members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs request a meeting focused on the use of EU mechanisms for providing protective equipment, on the support from other democracies, on the possibilities for Lithuania to benefit from said support, and on the risks posed by the increasing dependence on the ‘humanitarian aid’ from the communist China.

‘We are increasingly aware that the governing coalition, which refuses to pay due attention to the opposition’s suggestions concerning the design and modalities of crisis management, have also missed out on all of the international opportunities for timely access to EU-wide procurement of protective equipment, as well as timely use of the support offered by other democracies. In the meantime, the communist China is sending support to Lithuania, which the governing coalition accepts in good faith and in a non-critical manner, regardless of the fact the support from China is meant to fulfil China’s long-term national interests in Lithuania. Seeing this, representatives from Taiwan, a country renowned for its efficiency in managing the crisis, have approached us, but their good will has for some reason not met with any response from the governing coalition. At the Committee meeting we intend to find out whether this happened due to the lack of competence and experience in foreign relations on the part of the governing coalition, non-readiness to accept all modalities of support, or outright subservience to autocracies that are benefitting from the crisis as an opportunity to consolidate their soft power in Lithuania and worldwide,’ Mr Pavilionis said.

Mr Pavilionis, Mr Ažubalis, and Mr Zingeris, Members of the Seimas, also propose to discuss at the Committee the compulsory isolation of Lithuanian returnees, in view of the information that the isolation sites and modalities used for transporting the people there fail to meet the quarantine requirements, thus violating citizens’ rights and creating additional risks to their health and life, as well as to that of all other citizens.

‘The inability to work effectively with the EU and the global democracies in the realm of international relations, coupled with the created deficit of the necessary protective equipment leads to inhumane treatment of our own citizens returning from abroad. We are observing a situation where all we do is lock up people together, a practice reminiscent of Stalinist methods. Moreover, this happens in violation of their fundamental rights, without running the due check-ups and screening, without providing the returnees with the necessary protective equipment at places of isolation, without separating the sick and the law offenders from the healthy, including mothers, children, and those who are generally in a position to follow the quarantine requirements. Moreover, they find themselves locked together in places where the risk to the health and life of all of us grows even higher. We therefore intend to discuss these issues with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Health, as well as the Mayor of Vilnius, who, as we understand, proposes other, more rational solutions. We hope that the governing coalition will prove through deeds, rather than empty rhetoric, that we are able to speak with one voice in times of crisis, taking full advantage of international opportunities without humiliating our citizens,’ Mr Pavilionis said.

Members of the Seimas call on inviting Linas Linkevičius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aurelijus Veryga, Minister of Health, and Remigijus Šimašius, Mayor of Vilnius, to attend the meeting of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

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