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L. Linkevičius and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State discuss security issues, cooperation with Eastern partners

Created: 2020.04.29 / Updated: 2020.04.29 13:00
On 28 April, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius had a telephone conversation with the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, and discussed security challenges posed by both conventional and non-conventional threats, such as the global COVID-19 crisis.

The interlocutors highlighted the importance of mobilizing the allies’ efforts to fight the pandemic. They also voiced concern over the heightened Russian military activity, its continued destabilizing role in eastern Ukraine, and attempts to lift sanctions under the pretext of combating coronavirus. The interlocutors agreed that the Euro-Atlantic security community’s support for the Eastern partners became even more important in light of Russia's continuing aggression.

When discussing Belarus, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister noted that Western countries were interested in political, economic, and energy independence of Belarus. L. Linkevičius assured that Lithuania was ready to work together to help Belarus achieve energy independence, but Belarus should also make the effort. L. Linkevičius stressed the importance of market reforms, sustainable economic growth, and respect for human rights. In addition, the Foreign Minister expressed his concern about the country’s insufficient effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s pressure on strategic sectors of the economy of Belarus.

Lithuania’s Foreign Minister requested the U.S. to support Lithuania’s position on the Ostrovets nuclear power plant (NPP), emphasised the non-compliance of the said project with environmental and nuclear safety standards, and the need for implementing the recommendations of the EU stress tests before launching the NPP.

“We must work together striving to maintain the freedom and independence of Belarus. The construction of the Ostrovets NPP is contrary to economic logic. It imposes a huge economic burden on the country and increases its dependence on Russia," L. Linkevičius said.

The meeting also discussed the transatlantic relationship and ever-increasing bilateral and multilateral cooperation within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The interlocutors stressed the importance of the continued presence of the U.S. forces in the region. It was also affirmed that Lithuania was providing all the necessary support to the allied forces in the context of COVID-19. Attention was also drawn to the growing number of cyber and information attacks against Lithuania and its allies.

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