In Paris, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis called for increasing pressure on Lukashenko’s regime, strengthening support for democratic Belarus
On 27 January in Paris, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Gabrielius Landsbergis opened a virtual seminar on the situation in Belarus together with his counterparts from France, Poland, Romania, and Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.
The event discussed which strategy Europe should pursue with regard to Belarus and looked at ways to provide more political support for the country’s civil society. Landsbergis recalled democratic change in Lithuania over recent decades that gave us hope for the future of Belarus. “Belarus remains gripped by protests despite the cold weather and ruthless repression. This shows that the democratic aspiration is indestructible,” said the Foreign Minister.
When speaking about the European Union’s response, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister stressed the need to exert more pressure on Lukashenko’s regime and briefed on Lithuania’s efforts to ensure accountability for human rights abuses, ending state-sponsored impunity for perpetrators of torture in Belarus.
The seminar was co-organised by the Embassies of Lithuania, Poland, Romania and the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR Paris) in Paris.
The Foreign Minister also met with Clément Beaune, Minister of State for European Affairs, and discussed the situation in Belarus, the European response to the challenges posed by the Ostrovets nuclear power plant (NPP), and key items on the EU agenda.
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister noted that Belarus had not yet implemented the 2018 recommendations by EU experts on ensuring the safety of the Ostrovets NPP. Landsbergis also highlighted the need to implement as soon as possible the conclusions of the December European Council on measures to protect against electricity imports from unsafe nuclear power plants. The Foreign Ministers agreed to hold bilateral consultations between energy experts and regulators in the near future.
As regards the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic, Landsbergis stressed the need to secure a transparent and constant flow of vaccine doses in member states, and the European Commission’s role in ensuring compliance by vaccine-producing companies with their obligations. Lithuania’s Foreign Minister also called on the EU to remember to help its neighbours secure access to vaccines.
The Foreign Ministers also discussed the implementation of the European Economic Recovery Plan, priorities for climate change and energy. According to Lithuania’s Foreign Minister, it is necessary to comply with the agreement reached at the European Council in July 2020 in the ongoing inter-institutional negotiations on sectoral legal acts, including on the funding for the Rail Baltica project.