Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, Linas Linkevičius, said at the global security forum GLOBSEC that NATO had to maintain its ability to adapt to new challenges and focus on its main task, collective defence; the success of the Alliance would depend on that in the future.
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister took part in the debate “NATO adapting to future challenges” at the GLOBSEC forum in Bratislava on 26-27 May 2017.
“The NATO Enhanced Forward Presence deployed in the Baltic States and Poland will reach its full operational capability in summer thus strengthen the eastern part of NATO. This does not mean that the process will end. The adaptation of the Alliance must continue as set out in the Warsaw Summit decisions,” Linas Linkevičius said.
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister believes that the main tasks in the process are rapid and unrestricted movement of Allies’ troops and the force structure review needed for the structure to meet current threats and ensure a smooth decision-making process in the Alliance.
The participants of the forum paid tribute to Zbigniew Brzezinski, a US diplomat and national security expert, who died on 26 May, and noted his considerable contribution to the history of international relations. Minister Linkevičius shared a story about Zbigniew Brzezinski hunting in Lithuania where he had called the two wild boars he had shot Molotov and Ribbentrop.
The annual forum in the capital of Slovakia that hears debates on strategic issues in foreign policy, economy, and security gathers heads of state and international organisations, high-ranking diplomats, analysts, and business people.
During his visit, Mr Linkevičius had a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, Miroslav Lajčák. The meeting focused on relations with Russia, security in the region, EU Eastern Partnership, and energy security.
Minister Linkevičius emphasized that there was no reason why the stance vis-à-vis Russia could change. “Consistent policy is needed – the unity of the EU, transatlantic coordination, firm support to Ukraine, and sanctions against Russia as long as it doesn’t completely fulfil its commitments under the Minsk agreements,” Lithuania’s Foreign Minister said.
He asked Slovakia as a country that develops nuclear energy to support Lithuania’s diplomatic efforts aimed at stopping the construction of an unsafe nuclear power plant in Belarus.
This matter was also discussed at the meeting between Minister Linkevičius and Mary Burce Warlick, who has recently assumed the position of Acting Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs.
According to Linas Linkevičius, the international community had to demand unequivocally that Belarus should discontinue its dangerous practices and engage in cooperation with international nuclear safety experts.
Lithuania urges Belarus to immediately stop the construction of the Astravyets NPP because of non-conformity of the project with international environmental and nuclear safety standards, a number of serious violations in the process of project development, serious recurrent incidents at the construction site, low occupational safety culture, lack of competence and experience of the nuclear safety institution and construction companies in developing such a project, and because of permanent manipulations with international instruments and public opinion.
During his meeting with the US diplomat, Mr Minister also underlined the importance of synchronisation of the Baltic States’ electricity system with the power grid of continental Europe, highlighted threats posed by the NordStream2 project, and discussed possible liquefied natural gas exports from the US to Europe.
Linas Linkevičius also met with John Frank, Vice President of Microsoft Corporation, in Bratislava to discuss cooperation between governments and business in dealing with cyber threats.
“Close ties with the private sector are particularly important in this area. Therefore Microsoft efforts to contribute to the development of an international cyber security regime are very welcome. Lithuania is ready to actively engage in a dialogue among countries, as well as private and non-governmental actors in looking for a joint response to all urgent cyber threats,” Mr Minister said during the meeting.