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Lithuanian president advocates equal relations with Russia and not ones based on one-sided concessions

Lithuanian President Grybauskaitė  and Russian Prime Minister Putin.
President.lt nuotr. / Lithuanian President Grybauskaitė and Russian President Putin.
Šaltinis: BNS

Lithuania could hope for better relations with Russia only after yielding to the latter's demands; meanwhile Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė advocates equal relations, her chief adviser on foreign affairs Jovita Neliupšienė says.

"Bilateral relations always depend on the attitude of both countries to each other. It is very important for that attitude to be based on mutual respect and for relations to be equal. To imagine or hope that relations will improve, that one of the sides will make some concessions, would be unusual in international politics or diplomacy, and it would be wrong. Can we seek to improve bilateral relations at any cost? The answer is once again, no," Neliupšienė told Žinių Radijas (News Radio) on Tuesday when asked about potential improvement in Lithuanian-Russian ties.

"What price are we ready to pay? Do we really want to have commitments based on some agreement on energy resources, gas, which would set the price for the upcoming ten or 15 years, or do we want to be told what legal reforms or legal acts to implement to reform our energy sector? I believe these are the questions we need to ask ourselves first. If we are ready to pay more, to just yield to demands, then we can hope for better relations. But, I believe, now in Lithuania, both the president and the foreign affairs minister speak for equal relations based on mutual respect without preconditions," the presidential adviser said.

Lithuania's new Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius met with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference last weekend. Linkevičius said after the meeting that it had been agreed to step up bilateral cooperation.

Talking about Russia's expectations mentioned during the meeting, Linkevičius mentioned issues related to the gas sector. "The Russian side also raised a number of its expectations, and there were also issues were progress is expected from Lithuania. I can specify – the Third Energy Package. Here we talk about the gas sector, and our disagreements are that we are separating producers from supplies, pursuant to the procedure established by the European Union, and the supply infrastructure are not in the hands of a producer. All that causes certain problems in terms of business for Russian partners. Our aim is to ensure competition, and, in the end, we are doing this not unilaterally but in the framework of the EU's Third Energy Package. I also told the Russian side that its not only Lithuania's policy as it is the EU's policy," Linkevičius told BNS by phone from Munich.

Linkevičius and Lavrov's Saturday meeting in Munich was Lithuania's new foreign minister's first meeting with his Russian counterpart.

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