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UPDATE: Poland, Lithuania hail strategic partnership, sign joint declaration on Belarus

17.09.2020 13:30
Poland and Lithuania signed a strategic partnership declaration after wide-ranging talks on Thursday, while also inking a joint declaration on their shared neighbor Belarus amid post-election tensions in that country.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (left) and his Lithuanian counterpart Saulius Skvernelis (right) shake hands at a joint news conference following intergovernmental talks in Vilnius on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (left) and his Lithuanian counterpart Saulius Skvernelis (right) shake hands at a joint news conference following intergovernmental talks in Vilnius on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020.Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

After two-way talks in Vilnius on Thursday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and his Lithuanian counterpart Saulius Skvernelis told reporters that their countries enjoyed thriving bilateral political and economic ties and were also agreed on a number of key regional and European issues.

Support for Belarus

During Thursday's talks, the two prime ministers signed a declaration in which their countries supported "the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Belarus," Poland's PAP news agency reported.

The governments in Warsaw and Vilnius also said in their declaration that they supported "the aspirations of the Belarusian people to live in a free and democratic state governed by leaders elected in free and fair elections," according to the Polish state news agency.

In their joint declaration on Belarus, Poland and Lithuania also condemned “violence and other forms of coercion" used against the Belarusian people and called for "free and democratic presidential elections" in Belarus "as soon as possible," the PAP news agency reported.

The declaration also said that the governments of Poland and Lithuania "have already approved measures of support for victims of repression" in Belarus as well as support for students, academics and people in culture and the arts "who have lost their jobs because of their beliefs and persecution." 

They said they were “ready to continue supporting Belarus and coordinating these activities internationally,” according to the Polish news agency.

Polish PM proposes stabilization fund for Belarus

Poland’s Morawiecki told reporters he would unveil a plan for wide-ranging international economic assistance to Belarus at an upcoming meeting of European Union leaders.

He elaborated that the plan would include opening the EU to Belarusian entrepreneurs and establishing a stabilization fund, possibly with the participation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the PAP news agency reported.

It cited Morawiecki as saying that Belarus should be provided with financial assistance of at least EUR 1 billion.

"The fund should be significant ... to the tune of at least EUR 1 billion," Morawiecki said at a joint news conference with Lithuania's Skvernelis in Vilnius.

"It should enable the Belarusian economy, in its current situation, to stabilize and meet investors' expectations when it comes to the prospects for issuing new debt," Morawiecki added.

Polish and Lithuanian government ministers discussed a range of bilateral and European issues, including "coordination of Polish and Lithuanian activities regarding Belarus, security in the region, cooperation on the EU forum and climate policy," when they met for extensive talks in Vilnius on Thursday amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to officials.

The talks, officially known as intergovernmental consultations—the first such event between the two countries since 1989—were led by the two prime ministers and involved more than 20 government ministers from both countries.

One of the main topics of the talks was the situation in Belarus, where post-election protests have grown against longtime strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko and of which both Poland and Lithuania are neighbors.

During their talks in the Lithuanian capital on Thursday, government ministers from the two countries also discussed issues such as the next EU budget, migration and ways of coordinating “policies and actions within the EU," according to Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński.

Government ministers from Poland and Lithuania hold talks in Vilnius on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. Government ministers from Poland and Lithuania hold talks in Vilnius on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

The Polish prime minister said last year that Poland and Lithuania were “headed in the same direction” as they deepened political, economic and cultural ties.

Speaking after talks with his Lithuanian counterpart in Warsaw in September last year, Poland's Morawiecki said that the two countries were deepening their political, economic and cultural relationships while taking into account “historical and social sensitivities.”

Meanwhile, Lithuania’s Skvernelis told reporters that intergovernmental relations between Poland and Lithuania were "the best they have ever been," Poland's PAP news agency reported at the time.

(gs/pk)

Source: IAR, PAP, TVP Info