On 3 April in Vilnius, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius met with the Turkish Minister for European Union Affairs and Chief negotiator Egemen Bağiş to discuss the development of bilateral relations. Both sides agreed on intensifying the cooperation concerning EU agenda during Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
E.Bağiş is visiting Lithuania with delegation led by the President of Turkey Abdullah Gül.
During the meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, L.Linkevičius presented the priorities of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU and assured that Lithuania would seek to ensure the continuity of EU enlargement policy in the second half of this year and to adopt ambitious enlargement guidelines for 2014.
“Lithuania has consistently supported Turkey’s European aspirations. The renewed Turkey’s accession negotiations is an excellent proof that both sides are ready to move towards a more intensive phase of constructive negotiations, therefore we will dedicate considerable attention to Turkey’s accession negotiations during Lithuanian Presidency”, L.Linkevičius said.
The Minister also emphasized the importance to maintain the continuity of the EU integration-related reforms in Turkey. He assured that Lithuania was ready to contribute to Turkey`s preparations for an accession and would continue to share its experience in the field of the European integration.
At the meeting, the head of Lithuania’s diplomacy also encouraged Turkey to sign readmission agreement with EU, which would allow starting a dialogue on visa liberalisation between the EU and Turkey, as well as positively affecting Turkey’s negotiations process.
“It is only a matter of time, when the EU-Turkey dialogue on visa liberalisation will be launched, although Turkey can start these negotiations with one simple signature on a readmission agreement”, the Minister said.
Closer cooperation in the field of foreign and security policy between the EU and Turkey was also discussed. Both sides exchanged their opinions on the most important points of the UN and NATO agenda. Moreover, Turkey’s role in humanitarian issues in the context of the conflict in Syria was accentuated.