President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite had a meeting with President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus in Minsk where they discussed regional cooperation between the two countries within the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to be chaired by Lithuania next year, as well as possibilities for bilateral cooperation.
"Lithuania is ready to help Belarus defend its interests in Europe inasmuch as Belarus wants this help. We want to help Belarus be more open to Europe," the President said.
According to the President, during its chairmanship of the OSCE Lithuania will be particularly interested not only in enhancing energy security but also in protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially during elections. Therefore, for Lithuania it is very important that the upcoming election in Belarus in December is free and meets OSCE standards.
During the President's visit to Belarus, Lithuanian and Belarusian ministers of foreign affairs signed a bilateral agreement on facilitation of border-crossing regime for Lithuanians and Belarusians living within 50 km from the state border.
"Today Lithuania is opening its doors. We have shown we have no fear and now you show you do not fear. I want this trust to be appreciated. In the modern Europe there should be no borders, either real or virtual. The agreement on facilitated border-crossing regime will open up new opportunities for people-to-people contacts between Lithuania and Belarus. From now on, not only contacts will be easier but also cooperation in developing our economic, commercial, cultural and tourism relations will be promoted. This is a concrete step towards closer relations between Belarus and Europe," President Dalia Grybauskaite said.
The was also a meeting of Lithuanian and Belarusian delegations. They discussed cooperation in energy and transport. On the issue of construction of new nuclear power plants in Lithuania and Belarus, the President of Lithuania underlined the interest of Lithuania and other countries of the region in ensuring security of all nuclear power plants in the region and their conformity to international environmental standards.
The Presidents of Lithuania and Belarus also discussed the possibility to transport electricity from Ukraine by transit through Belarus and the conditions for importing oil to Belarus via the Klaipeda Seaport.