Belarus and Lithuania intend to work hard to develop co-operation in the energy sector. This matter was discussed on the 20th of October during the talks between President Alexander Lukashenko and President Dalia Grybauskaitė of the Republic of Lithuania who was in Minsk on a working visit.
The President of Belarus said that Belarus and Lithuania have good prospects of co-operation in the energy sector. 'We are in unfavourable conditions, and we need to think of how to ensure our independence,' said the President of Belarus. 'We can resolve many issues by reaching agreements with the Baltic States. We would like to reach an agreement with Lithuania. We are open for talks .'
Alexander Lukashenko proposed his Lithuanian colleague to discuss a whole range of matters pertaining to the bilateral relations. As for political co-operation, the President of Belarus paid attention to interaction within the Eastern Partnership Initiative and asked the Lithuanian President's opinion about the direction this co-operation might take in the future, or else 'it will remain in a frozen state'. 'You are a member of the European Union; it has a certain influence on our meeting. I think, you will recommend some fields of activity,' said Alexander Lukashenko to Dalia Grybauskaitė.
During the talks in a narrow circle of participants, the Presidents discussed a whole range of issues relating to the bilateral relations and, first of all, those concerning trade and economic co-operation. Belarus and Lithuania have been expanding their bilateral trade in a dynamic manner, aiming to bring the trade to an annual volume of $1 billion.
'Lithuania is interested in improving and intensifying relations with Belarus. We are neighbours, but not only that. Lithuania is a member of the European Union and will be holding chairmanship in the OCSE next year,' said the President of Lithuania. 'Within this framework, we want to help Belarus, be there during the time of the elections. We want to help Belarus become more open and recognised in Europe.'
As for the bilateral relations, Dalia Grybauskaitė expressed Lithuania's interest in expanding economic relations and further implementation of projects in the field of energy. 'Lithuania is ready to co-operate, to promote the interests of Belarus in the European Union as far as Belarus will want it itself,' said the President of Lithuania.
According to her, the two countries have entered such a period in their relations when they recognise the need for building constructive relations. 'It seems that history offers us a chance to get to know each other a little bit closer. Regrettably, for a long time there was a wall, both objective and subjective, in the relations between Europe and Belarus. I think, we are approaching such a period when everyone understands that it is better to talk with each other, hold discussions to consider problems and solve them instead of standing behind a wall and point fingers at one another,' said Dalia Grybauskaitė during the bilateral talks with broad participation.
She stressed Lithuania's interest in building up relations with Belarus not only in the multilateral but also in the bilateral and the regional formats. 'This is of course the entire Baltic Sea region where we can be of use for you from the point of view of access to the sea. Both Belarus and Lithuania are interested in energy independence or at least in having an opportunity to choose when the matter concerns energy supplies,' said the President of Lithuania.
'I have heard a very rational understanding of the situation, and I am very glad that we can find a common language with the President of Belarus regarding the ensuring of energy independence of both states. It is very important. We are ready for open co-operation. It does not run again European interests. The EU is interested in energy independence and in diversifying, as much as possible, its energy supplies,' said Dalia Grybauskaitė.
According to her, 'Lithuania, just as the entire European Union, is looking at Belarus, at the forthcoming presidential elections with hope'. 'We want and wish that you have open elections, that all candidates who can be registered be registered, that people have a choice,' said the President of Lithuania.
In turn, Alexander Lukashenko said that there has never been any tension in the political processes that take place in the country. 'Everyone who wishes to participate in the political campaign is most welcome to do so. We have received no complaints so far,' said the President of Belarus.