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2021.11.18 09:41

Lithuanian PM warns against ‘appeasement’ of Lukashenko

Augustas Stankevičius, Ramūnas Jakubauskas, BNS2021.11.18 09:41

Appeasing Minsk “will only encourage rogue behavior”, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė said after a phone conversation with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday.

“I stressed a need for a united EU stance in pressing Lukashenko to stop migration flows and let international humanitarian organisations do their job in Belarus,” Šimonytė tweeted.

Read more: Migration crisis in Baltics and Poland

“Appeasement to dictator will only encourage rogue behavior,” she added.

Her conversation with von der Leyen came after German Chancellor Angela Merkel had a second phone call with Belarus' authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko on Wednesday.

No change to Lithuania's foreign policy

In an interview to the BBC earlier this week, Lithuania's President Gitanas Nausėda suggested that the EU should talk with Lukashenko in order to resolve the migrant crisis.

Read more: Lithuanian president says ‘possible to solve crisis’ by talking to Lukashenko

“I think there are possibilities to solve the crisis by also appealing to Mr Lukashenko like [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel recently did,” Nausėda told the BBC on Tuesday. “We have to talk with the man who is responsible for what is happening here at the border.”

In the interview, which came after Merkel's first phone call to the Belarusian strongman, the Lithuanian leader said that such conversations were not legitimising him as president.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Šimonytė has said the president's comments did not signal a change in Lithuania's foreign policy course.

“I don't think Lithuania's foreign policy is changing, but it's important not to give additional trump cards to figures like Mr Lukashenko in such circumstances,” Šimonytė told Delfi.lt on Wednesday. “I see attempts to take them [trump cards].”

“As to whether the European Union will be able to remain united in its assessments, as it has been so far, I do hope that it will and that this will not mean that we can talk about some negotiations with people who are blackmailing the EU and trying to achieve their recognition,” she added.

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