Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis: EU must send a clear message to Russia about possible consequences of aggression
On 19 April, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Gabrielius Landsbergis took part in a video conference of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers, which focused on Russia's aggressive actions against Ukraine and Alexei Navalny, the state of his health, the situation in Georgia, Belarus, and other relevant foreign policy issues.
As regards Ukraine’s reform process, the Foreign Minister highlighted the significant progress made by Ukraine and urged the EU to strengthen its support to the implementation of systemic reforms, particularly anti-corruption and judicial reforms.
“It is important to ensure the sustainability of long-term reforms, especially those aimed at strengthening the rule of law. The EU must offer Ukraine the incentives provided for in the Association Agreement, take up the initiatives of deepening integration that would lead to Ukraine's gradual integration into the EU's internal market. This is an important stimulus for reforms,” said the Foreign Minister and invited the representatives of the EU member states and institutions to the Ukraine Reform Conference, which is to be held in Vilnius on 7-8 July. Landsbergis stressed the importance of not slowing down the pace of reforms and assured the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba that the EU partners fully supported Ukraine’s European path.
As regards the consolidation of the occupation of Crimea, Landsbergis drew his counterparts' attention to the strengthening militarisation of the peninsula, the catastrophic human rights situation, Russia's highly worrying threats to close part of the Black Sea near the Kerch Strait for foreign ships and stressed the importance of the International Crimea Platform as an international format to provide long-term vision of de-occupation of Crimea.
“I am very confident that the Georgian Government and the opposition will accept the EU-US compromise agreement. This is an important offer of concern and support from the transatlantic partners. During the visit, I will call for an inclusive dialogue between the ruling parties and the opposition, political consensus for the country’s stability and the Euro-Atlantic integration course," said the Foreign Minister.
At the meeting, Landsbergis drew attention to a deteriorating situation in Belarus. The number of political prisoners is growing daily. The Belarusian regime has labelled opposition leaders as terrorists and is threatening to liquidate civil society in the country. Lithuania's Foreign Minister also stressed the importance of maintaining pressure on Minsk and agreeing as soon as possible on a 4th EU package of sanctions against Belarus that was being prepared.
EU Foreign Affairs Ministers adopted a second set of restrictive measures in light of the continued deterioration of the human rights situation after a military coup in Myanmar/Burma. The Council today imposed restrictive measures on 10 officials responsible for the ongoing repression in the country and 2 legal entities with ties to the military junta.