2020.02.18 13:00

Lithuania's foreign policy priority soft power – president

BNS 2020.02.18 13:00

President Gitanas Nausėda on Monday called to counter the falsification of history and improve Lithuania's image abroad, which will strengthen the country's soft power.

The president named developing soft power as an "immediate task for Lithuania’s foreign policy," which means "strengthening the positive image of Lithuania around the world," as well as countering efforts to :fabricate the history of Lithuania and the other Baltic states".

Read more: Auschwitz: Lithuanian president calls to 'search for truth' amid disputes with Moscow

"We are ready to critically and fairly evaluate our past, but we will not tolerate the attempts of some countries to spread false narratives," Nausėda told foreign ambassadors in Vilnius on Monday.

The Baltic countries and Poland have in recent years voiced concern at Russia's efforts to defend the 1939 Soviet-German non-aggression treaty which helped pave the way for World War 2.

In protest, the Lithuanian and Polish presidents last month refused to attend a major Holocaust commemoration event in Jerusalem where Russian President Vladimir Putin was invited to deliver a key speech.

Read more: Israeli Holocaust centre apologises for historical 'errors', leaves links to Putin unaddressed

On Monday, Nausėda also said that Lithuania had to take a more active role in preventing "uncontrolled migration, unrestrained deterioration of the environmental situation and the divisive emergence of irreconcilable, competing geopolitical and economic blocs in the world".

"We continue to see Western countries who share common values as the most reliable guarantor of international order," he said.

According to Nausėda, Lithuania "is and will continue to be a supporter of a strong transatlantic union because we see it as the cornerstone of Western strength".

"On the other hand, orientation to the West should not curb our dreams and ambitions," he said, adding that Lithuania's future foreign policy "will be strongly focused on economic diplomacy and new avenues, first and foremost, in economic cooperation".

"I am delighted that Lithuanian business people have started to discover Asian, African and Middle Eastern markets," he added.

The ambassadors and chargés d'affaires of 69 foreign countries, and representatives of international organisations attended Monday's meeting with Nausėda at the Presidential Palace.