On 11 November on his first working visit to London, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis and the U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague discussed the most important issues of the European Union, security policies, and bilateral and regional cooperation.
At the meeting, the interlocutors stressed that over the past two decades political, economic and cultural ties between Lithuania and the United Kingdom became very productive. Attention was drawn to the significant contribution of the active and large Lithuanian community in the United Kingdom to the development of relations between the countries. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Lithuania and the United Kingdom.
During the conversation, a lot of attention was drawn to the issues of regional cooperation; the interlocutors emphasized that the United Kingdom dedicated significant attention to the Nordic and Baltic countries. “We should not limit ourselves to the current spheres of cooperation between the United Kingdom and the Nordic and Baltic countries, we have to intensify the discussion of the European countries in the northern latitudes not only on the issues of domestic, but also foreign and finance policies, etc.,” stressed A.Ažubalis.
He stressed that the United Kingdom was an important partner of Lithuania in the European and transatlantic structures. According to the Minister, the two countries are linked by common values and share a similar position on the majority of issues on the EU and NATO agenda, relations with Russia, energy security and Eastern neighbourhood issues.
The Ministers discussed the results of the European Council meetings in October and further steps addressing the Euro crisis, exchanged opinions on the upcoming negotiations for the EU’s Financial Perspectives (2014-2020). A.Ažubalis drew W.Hague’s attention to Lithuania’s concerns over the proper financing of the closure of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant.
The Minister also presented Lithuania’s most important steps towards ensuring energy security and underlined the importance of common and effective EU energy policy and of energy links promoting supply alternatives. The U.K. Foreign Secretary highlighted that the diversification of energy resources was a key rule for the life of the country today.
Head of the diplomacy of the U.K. thanked Lithuania for the country’s important contribution when leading the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Ghor province, Afghanistan. The Ministers agreed that the support of the international community to Afghanistan would not end with the transfer of responsibility for security to the local authorities.
Representatives of Lithuania and the United Kingdom also discussed Lithuania’s ongoing Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). A.Ažubalis informed them about the preparations for the OSCE Ministerial Council session that is due on 6-7 in Vilnius.
Later, at the meeting with Chair of the British-Lithuania All-Party Parliamentary Group Lord Peter Bowness, A.Ažubalis discussed opportunities to intensify the cooperation between the Parliaments of the two countries. A.Ažubalis and P.Bowness also discussed topical issues on the EU’s agenda, energy security, relations with Eastern neighbours, etc.