On 14 February 2014, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius chaired discussions on the strengthening of the United Nations-European Union co-operation and interaction, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has informed.
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton also delivered speeches.
In his statement, Minister Linkevičius welcomed this considerably growing UN-EU co-operation that was expanding in scope and focus, and stressed the need to strengthen the interaction of these organizations in ensuring international peace and stability. The Minister also expressed his belief that the European Union’s voice in the UN would grow stronger.
“The European Union is the world’s largest humanitarian assistance donor. By urgently responding to humanitarian crises and in close co-operation with the United Nations, the EU has helped to save many lives in areas affected by conflict and natural disasters,” Lithuania’s Foreign Minister said at the UN Security Council meeting on the co-operation between the UN and EU, which is held only for the fourth time.
When speaking about specific examples of the EU-UN co-operation, responding to conflicts in various regions of the world, the Minister highlighted the importance of the EU efforts in the Central African Republic and called on the international community to do whatever it takes to stop killings and violence in this African country as soon as possible, and to protect civilians.
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister also called for immediate implementation of previous decisions taken by the UN Security Council on humanitarian assistance to the people of Syria, who suffer terrible consequences of the ongoing three-year long armed conflict in this country. The Minister Linkevičius stressed that the United Nations had to “learn the lessons of Syria” and draw conclusions on the need to strengthen provision of humanitarian assistance and protection of civilians in conflict.
The Lithuanian Foreign Minister highly evaluated the experience of the UN-EU co-operation in Afghanistan and called for maintaining international efforts to strengthen the rule of law in this country and to promote respect for human rights, especially those of women and girls. At the same time, the Lithuanian Foreign Minister stressed the responsibility of Afghanistan’s government of implementing reforms in this country and strengthening regional co-operation.
The Lithuanian Foreign Minister highlighted that the UN-EU collaboration within the framework of Geneva International Discussions with an aim to address the consequences of the 2008 conflict in Georgia are very important and should continue.
The UN Security Council adopted the presidential statement proposed by Lithuania. It recognizes the EU’s mediation role efforts during international negotiations, specifically noting the EU’s contribution to talks with Iran and its assistance to the Western Balkan region. The presidential statement welcomes the EU’s comprehensive support to the maintenance of international peace and security. The UN Security Council commends the EU’s role in combating piracy, also its financial contributions and humanitarian assistance in Syria and Central African Republic, contributions to the promotion of peace and security, good governance and development in Afghanistan, Mali, and the Sahel region. The presidential statement also calls on furthering the strategic UN-EU co-operation, including discussions of this important issue on the UN Security Council’s agenda.
Lithuania became a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council on 1 January 2014 for a two-year term. In February, Lithuania chairs the Security Council.