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2019.09.10 11:30

Talking with Belarus doesn't mean inviting Lukashenko to Vilnius, Lithuanian president's adviser says

BNS2019.09.10 11:30

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda's suggestions to develop ties with Belarus do not indicate any major change in Lithuania's foreign policy and are more of a tactical move, says his adviser Asta Skaisgirytė who leads the foreign policy group.

She says it is too soon to speak about top-level relations between the Lithuanian and Belarusian governments or inviting President Alexander Lukashenko to Vilnius.

“I don’t know if we have the conditions now to invite President Lukashenko to Vilnius. Communication with Belarus doesn’t' necessarily mean inviting President Lukashenko, we can communicate well at the working level [...]. The cooperation of our border, transport and customs services is necessary and is totally pragmatic and work-related. Only the future will show whether we need to show political gestures,” Skaisgirytė told the Žinių Radijas radio on Tuesday.

Read more: Lithuanian president looks into revising ties with Belarus, undisclosed meeting suggests

The adviser also said President Nausėda wanted “to use classic diplomacy” in Belarus.

“We need diplomats to have connections there and information on what is going on in Belarus. I don't believe these tactical moves mean any major change in Lithuania's foreign policy,” Skaisgirytė said.

According to her, Lithuania cannot ignore the fact that it has has the longest border with Belarus or the Astravyets nuclear power plant which is under construction only 50 km from the Lithuanian border.

“We cannot forget that painful issue of the Astravyets nuclear power plant [...]. Despite Lithuania's efforts over the past decade, the power plant has been built and it seems that nuclear fuel will be brought in this or next year and it will be launched,” she said.