02 July, 2007
Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Monday met her Lithuanian counterpart Petras Vaitiekunas in Athens and discussed bilateral cooperation in energy issues and security, as well as the European Council's decision for a "Reform Treaty" on European Union institutions.
"We agreed to strengthen and upgrade our economic ties," Bakoyannis said, after greeting Vaitiekunas as a "partner and ally" following Lithuania's accession to both the EU and NATO.
In joint statements after their meeting, Bakoyannis said that she had highlighted Greece's geopolitical position as a gateway to the Balkans and the Black Sea region, referred to the prospects for cooperation in tourism and energy and expressed Greece's very high level of interest in Lithuania's experience with alternative energy sources, particularly wind power.
"We envisage a broad field of cooperation between Lithuania and the Centre for Renewable Energy Sources," she added.
Regarding the "reform treaty" for the EU Constitution, Bakoyannis said she stressed Athens' positions that there should be no more delays in the Inter-Governmental Conference and in implementing the European Council's decisions for strengthening EU institutions, which must be carried out to the letter.
"The philosophy behind the EU's operation is based on consensus and on compromises in views. Equally important is the principle of Community solidarity between the member-states," Bakoyannis underlined, while stressing that this had to go both ways.
"When [solidarity] is reasonably expected, it must also reasonably be returned," she noted.
The Lithuanian minister said their views on the decisions of the European Council essentially converged, stressing that the focus must now be on implementing the most important targets for European citizens.
"We want a strong Europe whose basic principle is solidarity, so that it can deal with the challenges of globalisation," he said.
Regarding EU relations with Russia in the field of energy cooperation, in particular, Vaitiekunas said that Lithuania favoured stronger cooperation with Russia and wanted the EU to be united in dialogue with Russia. He also noted the need to ensure a reliable supply of energy, based on the principles of mutuality, transparency and non-discrimination.
In response to questions, Bakoyannis said they had not discussed a U.S. plan to install an anti-missile system in central Europe, noting that this might come up during a dinner with Vaitiekunas that will follow.
The Lithuanian minister said that such as missile system would contribute to Europe's security and was not targeted against any neighbor of the EU.
"It is not against Russia," he said specifically, adding that there must be dialogue on this issue within NATO.
He also hailed the "extremely good" bilateral ties with Greece and, thanking Bakoyannis for their cooperation on Monday and during the EU Summit, invited her to visit Vilnius before the end of the year.
Also to be discussed during a dinner given by Bakoyannis in his honor are developments in Kosovo and in the Middle East.
Vaitiekunas later met with Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, who holds the energy portfolio in the Karamanlis government, for discussions that focused on boosting bilateral trade, investments and energy cooperation.
Source: Athens News Agency