EU-Russia Partnership For Modernization Has To Include The Modernization Of Russia‘s Attitude Towards Neighbours, Lithuania‘s Foreign Minister Says

At a meeting of the European Union‘s and Russia‘s foreign ministers on 22 September in New York, Lithuania‘s Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis said that Russia‘s attitude towards it’s neighbours had be modernized. Implementation of the EU-Russia Partnership for Modernization was one of the topics of this meeting.

According to the Minister, resolution of the Transnistria issue could serve as an example of such modernization.

Minister A.Ažubalis also noted that observers from the EU had to be granted possibility to move without any restrictions in all the territory of Georgia. He expressed trust that progress would be achieved on this issue.

The objectives and priorities of the EU-Russia Partnership for Modernization were adopted at the EU-Russia Summit which took place on 31 May-1 June in Rostov-on-Don. This partnership aims at giving a boost to economic and social reforms. Harmonisation of technical standards, stimulation of sustainable economy and dialogue with civil society are among priority areas.

Lithuania‘s Foreign Minister believes that the EU-Russia partnership also has to include aspects of human rights and rule of law.

In the opinion of Minister A.Ažubalis, many joint EU-Russia projects under the modernization programme could be implemented in the Kaliningrad Region, which has good possibilities to become one of the most progressive regions of Russia.

Lithuania has close relations with the Kaliningrad Region and supports the facilitation of travel conditions for the residents of this region.

Review of the Schengen acquis that regulates local border movement could be one of the ways to achieve this, the Minister says. It would also be important to sign an agreement on the facilitation of visa regime for the residents of border area as this agreement would significantly and immediately facilitate the movement of the residents of border area. The negotiations regarding this agreement have already taken place.

Agenda of the EU-Russia ministerial meeting in New York also included the issues related to the activities of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Minister A.Ažubalis said that Lithuania expected the forthcoming OSCE Summit to adopt a result-oriented action plan which would include clear tasks and terms of implementation regarding the continuation of Dialogue on European and Eurasian security, also known as Corfu Process. The summit will be held this year in Astana.

Lithuania‘s Foreign Minister noted that this document also had to describe the progress achieved in solving protracted conflicts, to adopt provisions for strengthening the dialogue on energy and cyber security issues, to plan the strengthening and implementation of the OSCE human dimension commitments.

According to the Minister, the Astana Summit has to deliberate transnational threats, especially the issues related to the fight with drug trafficking. Minister A.Ažubalis declared that during its OSCE Chairmanship in 2011 Lithuania would pay a lot of attention to these issues.

On 22 September in New York, Lithuania‘s Foreign Minister also met with Armenia‘s Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandian. Head of Lithuania’s diplomacy acquainted his Armenian counterpart with the agenda of Lithuania’s OSCE Chairmanship and future priorities, he also highlighted the importance of Armenia being responsible for the strengthening of peace and stability in the region.

Armenia‘s objectives of European integration were discussed at this bilateral meeting. Lithuania‘s Foreign Minister confirmed that Lithuania was ready to assist Armenia in its preparations for the negotiations regarding the Association agreement with the EU.
Ministry of foreign affairs of The Republic of Lithuania