C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 000605
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/13/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV EUN LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIA FOCUSED ON BELARUS, RUSSIA AND UKRAINE
REF: VILNIUS 602
Classified By: DCM Damian R. Leader for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).
Â¶1. (C) Summary. The head of MFA's Common Foreign and
Security Policy Division, Egidijus Navikas said Foreign
Minister Usackas will focus on Belarus, Russia and Ukraine at
the next GAERC meeting. Usackas will stress that the EU
should monitor and assign target dates for Belarus to
implement benchmark conditions including releasing political
prisoners, allowing free media, registering NGOs and
reforming the electoral code. Regarding Russia, Navikas said
that Usackas will endorse constructive but critical
engagement at the EU level. The FM will also speak on
Ukraine highlighting gas transit and energy issues; the
economic situation and domestic politics; Ukraine's progress
on its association agreement and the longer term goal of a
visa free regime.
Â¶2. (C) Navikas said that the EU Council Conclusions on
Belarus (reftel) are already approved and the discussion at
GAERC will be political statements rather than negotiations.
Usackas will stress that the EU should monitor and assign
target dates for Belarus to implement benchmark conditions
including releasing political prisoners, allowing free media,
registering NGOs and reforming the electoral code. Navikas
acknowledged that target dates may be viewed as "wishful
thinking" but reasoned that deadlines could introduce
pressure to implement change in a timely manner. He also
said that Usackas supports visa facilitation with Belarus.
Â¶3. (C) Navikas said that EU Foreign Ministers will use the
GAERC discussion to prepare for the EU-Russia summit on
November 18. Usackas will endorse constructive but critical
engagement with Russia at the EU level. Navikas said that
Usackas will focus on Russia's interpretation of history and
its approach to common neighbors. Further to recent remarks
by President Medvedev including the "Go Russia" speech,
Usackas wants the EU to help the Russian people to understand
their identity which is separate from the Soviet Union and
separate from Stalin. Navikas said that Usackas will also
call on the EU to encourage Russia to keep international
commitments including the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) and WTO
Â¶4. (C) Navikas said that the FM will also speak on Ukraine.
He said that gas transit and energy issues could become a
problem and we should do everything possible to avoid a
repeat scenario of last winter's gas prices in Ukraine.
Regarding Ukraine's economic and domestic political
situations, Navikas said that the EU should mentor Ukraine
especially with the Presidential elections in January.
Usackas will encourage the EU to recognize the substantial
progress that Ukraine has made on its' association agreement.
Navikas explained that Ukraine wants the EU to recognize
their EU identity and perspective. Finally, as a long term
goal, Navikas said that the EU should provide Ukraine with
benchmarks to achieve a visa-free regime.
Â¶5. (C) Aside from neighborhood issues Navikas said that
Usackas will contribute to the discussion on Afghanistan
development and how development policies should support the
democratization process. He said that the FM will highlight
the GOL's efforts to promote democracy at its PRT in Ghor.
The FM will also mention the Community of Democracies, which
Lithuania now chairs, and its possible role in Afghanistan