Viktoras Pranckietis, Speaker of the Seimas: “Lithuania will continue its strong support for Ukraine and Ukraine’s legitimate fight for freedom and territorial integrity”
Press release, 28 November 2016
Photo of the Office of the Seimas (author Olga Posaškova)
On 28 November 2016, Viktoras Pranckietis, Speaker of the Seimas, met with Andrii Parubii, Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, who was paying a working visit to Lithuania.
At the meeting, the leaders of both parliaments discussed the situation in Ukraine, the course of reforms in Ukraine, Lithuanian support, and prospects for interparliamentary cooperation.
Mr Pranckietis noted that the Seimas was the most active EU national parliament in terms of expressing support for Ukraine. Since 2013, the Lithuanian Parliament has adopted eight resolutions, with the latest one adopted by the newly elected Seimas, expressing support for Ukraine and declaring the continuity of foreign policy.
The Speaker of the Seimas stressed the importance of structural reforms in Ukraine and welcomed a speedier introduction of a visa-free regime for Ukraine by the EU. Mr Pranckietis believed it would allow exploring more effectively the potential of the EU–Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.
The meeting focused strongly on regional security, hybrid warfare threats and strengthening of bilateral economic cooperation.
The Speaker of the Seimas highlighted that Europe’s challenges, namely, the migration crisis, increased threat of terrorism, and Brexit, should not overshadow EU’s focus on Eastern Partnership countries, especially Ukraine, due to the annexation of Crimea, situation in eastern Ukraine, and implementation of the Minsk agreements.
The Speaker of the Seimas said that there was no real change in implementing the Minsk agreements. It was therefore necessary to send a clear message to Russia that the sanctions would be lifted only once the very reasons for introducing them were eliminated.
At the meeting, the Speaker of the Seimas and the Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada noted the importance of energy security and bilateral economic cooperation. Mr Pranckietis pointed out that Russia’s economic policy targeted against Ukraine increased the geopolitical value of the container train Viking and that it would be possible to avoid transit through Russia and thus increase cargo flows between Lithuania and Ukraine, if Viking’s route was connected with TRACECA corridor, which links Europe, Caucasus and Asia.
The Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine expressed his gratitude for Lithuania’s consistent attention to Ukraine and noted that Lithuania had been the European country providing the largest support for Ukraine.
Mr Pranckietis and Mr Parubii agreed to make further use of diplomatic possibilities to enhance the bilateral dialogue and speed up the fulfilment of Ukraine’s European integration aspirations.
Following a joint press conference, the Speaker of the Seimas and the Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine opened an exhibition dedicated to marking the 25th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Lithuania and Ukraine. Later on, the Ukrainian delegation had meetings with Saulius Svernelis, the appointed Prime Minister, and Members of the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrat Political Group and visited the Memorial to the Victims of 13 January.
Jolanta Anskaitienė, Adviser, Press Office, Information and Communication Department, tel. +370 5 239 6508, e-mail: [email protected]