More effort is necessary for the upcoming Vilnius summit to be successful, Lithuanian foreign minister says

21 October 2013, Last updated at, 17:57 EEST
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author: Council of the European Union nuotr.

At the EU’s Foreign Ministers meeting on 21 October in Luxembourg, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius stressed that partner countries had to make more progress and that the EU had to take into account aspirations of the partner countries for the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius to be successful.

“Five weeks prior to the Summit everyone has to make more effort. Without a doubt, partners have to show progress, but the European Union must support them so that they could respond to pressure and implement irreversible reforms,” L.Linkevičius said.

The Foreign Affairs Council discussed preparations for the Vilnius Summit on November 28 and 29. The Lithuanian Foreign Minister said that there was no alternative for an EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, but in order to sign the agreement the country still had to make some very important decisions.

“Ukraine has managed to achieve progress in key areas, including the judiciary and election system. We need to see more progress and I hope that we will be able to sign the Association Agreement with Ukraine. This is the right time for that, but we all must do more,” L.Linkevičius said.

At the ministerial meeting of the Group of Friends of Ukraine that was held prior to the Council meeting, L.Linkevičius hoped that Ukraine’s political forces would unite and implement reforms in the areas of judiciary and election system as well as solve the problem of Yulia Tymoshenko.

According to the Lithuanian Foreign Minister, Ukraine could thus take advantage of this historic opportunity to sign the agreement and start applying its clauses in advance, which would soon bring tangible benefits for the people of the EU and Ukraine.

The Council also called on all sides of the Syrian conflict to respect international humanitarian law, protect civilians and medical personnel, and keep the borders open. The Council adopted conclusions, expressing solidarity with the EU Member States that had taken in Syrian refugees and welcomed the commitment to destroy chemical weapons, inviting the sides of the conflict to participate in the negotiations in Geneva.

“It is very important for all sides to sit at the negotiating table. I think we are close to achieving the goal,” L.Linkevičius said.

The Minsters also met with Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar/Burma’s opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. 

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