The Baltic-Nordic Region Is Attractive, Sets A Good Example Of Regional Cooperation, Lithuanian Foreign Vice-Minister Says In Washington, D.C.

On 10 April in Washington, D.C., Lithuanian Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Evaldas Ignatavičius discussed an upcoming NATO summit with Assistant Secretary for Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon. The Vice-Minister participated in a round table discussion on Belarus together with representatives from U.S. think tanks and gave a lecture about the Baltic-Nordic-U.S. cooperation.

The discussion on the situation in Belarus was attended by experts from U.S. think tanks and non-governmental organisations: Freedom House, The Atlantic Council, Centre for European Policy Analysis, Open Society Institute, etc.

Ignatavičius gave a lecture on the framework of the Enhanced Partnership in Northern Europe (E-PINE) for the U.S.-Baltic-Nordic cooperation at the Atlantic Council, a preeminent institution devoted to promoting transatlantic cooperation.

“We highly appreciate the E-PINE, because this framework for cooperation provides an opportunity to openly exchange views related to key issues on the international agenda. The E-PINE sets an example of a perfect mechanism for practical cooperation, which embodies a union of transatlantic partners and friends,” said Ignatavičius at the conference that was co-organised by the Lithuanian Embassy in the U.S. and The Atlantic Council,” Ignatavičius said.

Among the officials and experts who attended the discussion there were Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Marie Yovanovich, Executive Vice President at the Atlantic Council Damon Wilson and Senior Fellow Robert Nurick. They stressed that the Nordic and Baltic countries were demonstrating a unique regional cooperation in various fields - economy, energy, security - and supporting reforms in the Eastern Europe.

Participants of the event noted that there were many new promising areas for practical cooperation starting with the development of transport corridors and movement of goods and ending with cooperation for prevention of illegal proliferation of nuclear materials in the region.

The Ignatavičius-Gordon meeting focused on the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago, support for reforms in the Eastern European neighbourhood, bilateral cooperation between the U.S. and Lithuania on the issues of security, energy and foreign policy.

“We hope that the NATO summit will underline the importance of the continuity of the Baltic air policing mission and will discuss further details of the execution of this mission. Lithuania was raising and will continue to raise the issue of NATO’s energy security. We hope that the Energy Security Centre, which was set up in Lithuania in 2011, will continue its activities also after a successful accreditation, when it will become a NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence after being joined by other NATO countries,” the Lithuanian diplomat said.

During the meetings, Ignatavičius discussed Lithuania’s upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2013 and said that for Lithuania, which is devoting considerable attention to Eastern European neighbours, it would be especially important to organise a successful EU Eastern Partnership summit and to discuss the EU’s support and relations with Eastern neighbours: the countries of the southern Caucasus, Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus.