22 January 2018, Monday, 21:28

Head of Lithuanian FM: Bialiatski’s release is important move, but not enough


Linas Linkevičius brought up a topic of political prisoners at the meetings with Makei and Myasnikovich.

Release of Ales Bialiatski is an important and positive step welcomed by us. But it is certainly not enough,” said minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania in an interview to BelaPAN, summing up the results of his two-day working visit to Belarus. Linas Linkevičius stressed that the main aim of his visit was an opportunity to discuss Belarusian-Lithuanian relations and “the dialogue conducted between Belarus and the European Union.”

“It is not a big secret, as the sides differ in their evaluation and views on many things. There are such problems that are not being solved for a long time. But still there are certain positive moments, from our point of view. The problem of political prisoners, always brought up by us, has not been solved yet, but we view the release of Ales Bialiatski a move in the positive direction.”

As informed by Linas Linkevičius, the question of release of Belarusian political prisoners was brought up at his meetings with Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich and Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makei.

“A few more steps should be made, in order to raise an important obstacle presence of political prisoners, which hinders the dialogue and our using our relations for the welfare of the people, for economic, cultural and other ties,” the Lithuanian minister said.

Speaking about other positive moments in the relations with Belarus, Linkevičius noted: Western partners highly appreciate the fact that “there is a consistent stand of Belarus regarding annexation of South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Crimea.”

“We also feel that there is a positive look at the Eastern Partnership program,” the head of the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry added. “We carry out negotiations on facilitation of visa regime, which is to lower visa costs. At the meetings I once again mentioned out attitude to facilitation of visa regime at near-border territories (an agreement on small border traffic).”

“I think all these questions could be advanced through a dialogue. My meetings with your Prime Minister and my colleague, Foreign Minister, were held in a very sincere manner. We have not avoided any questions from those which concern us, nothing was left aside, we tried to discuss everything,” Linkevičius said.

As said by him, it is necessary “to look for such areas of common interest, where all problems could be solved together,” – both in the contest of Belarus-EU dialogue, and in the context of bilateral relations with Lithuania.

The head of the Lithuanian foreign ministry has also noted that in the framework of the visit to Minsk he met representatives of opposition, civil society and relatives of political prisoners. “We meet with them all the time, we speak about their needs and problems. This meeting was a very open one, as usual. These contacts are very valuable, and we are to maintain them in the future,” Linas Linkevičius underlined.