20 January 2018
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Lithuania’s new Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius

Lithuania's new Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius:
Let's be more polite to our neighbours

Talking and showing respect – such is the recipe that Lithuania's new Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius will follow in his quest to mend the country's soured relations with neighbouring nations.

In an interview to 15min, Linkevičius says that Lithuania must not be hostage to the past in dealing with Russia; should balance democratic values with pragmatic interests in its treatment of Belarus, and give up the sense of indignation and be more polite while talking to Poland – and keep the old promises once made by Vilnius to Warsaw.

What are your nearest plans and what's the agenda for the entire term?
– Presidency over the Council of the European Union next year makes all other tasks pale in comparison. All the attention is now focused on this job – not just in our ministry but in all state institutions. What is crucial is a smooth cooperation among them.

When it comes to good neighbourly relations, I still see much room for improvement.

I am a man of consensus, that's what I always seek and I value agreement in areas like defence, foreign policy, security.

Foreign policy requires less revolution and more continuity. In the wake of our independence, we had three main priorities: membership in the EU, joining NATO, and friendly neighbourhood. The first two tasks have been accomplished, but when it comes to good neighbourly relations, I still see much room for improvement. I do not want to be over-dramatic, but nor do I wish to be indulgent.

– What directions will our foreign policy take, geographically speaking?
– There's no either-or in such matters – we need to look in all directions. Neighbours can be different, but they are important to all states. We share EU and NATO membership with Latvia and Poland, we have a common agenda and values, even though there are certain variations. Belarus and Russia have chosen a different path, but that does not mean we have to be slaves to our prejudices and drown ourselves in analysis of differences.


Category : News

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