Lithuania offers oil help

VILNIUS/WASHINGTON - On his last day visiting the United States, Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus offered the use of Lithuanian railways and the Klaipeda oil terminal to Belarus at the National Press Club on Tuesday.

Belarus has been searching for alternative oil sources after Russia increased its prices on raw oil to the country earlier this year. This increase is expected to have a strong impact on the Belarusian economy, prompting Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko into action.

Adamkus said that he had discussed the option of helping Belarus solve its energy problems with US Vice-President Dick Cheney and US energy secretary Samuel Bodman during his Washington visit.

The Presidents offer entails receiving oil in Klaipeda and shipping it by rail to Belarus. Adamkus stressed that the offer was not "support of the regime, but [Lithuania's] response to the people's needs."

Lithuania, along with other EU member states and the US, has criticized Belarus for violations of democracy and human rights. While Lithuania supports the democratic opposition in Belarus, it still maintains a pragmatic dialogue with the neighboring country.