Representatives of the United States Congress: U.S. appreciates Lithuania's support for transatlantic cooperation
On 2 August, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius met with the United States congressional, which was headed by Hal Rogers, Chairman of the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee of the United States House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations. The meeting focused on the Lithuania-U.S. cooperation in response to Russian threat, sanctions, energy security, and support for the spread of democracy.
"We are grateful for the United States' attention to security in our region. We highly appreciate the U.S. support for Ukraine and the policy of non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea. The transatlantic unity is necessary to ensure a common response to Russian aggression – let's resist attempts to divide us from each other", said L. Linkevičius.
He stressed the importance of maintaining or even strengthening sanctions against Russia that ignored its international obligations, as well as violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbouring countries. "As regards the sanctions against Russia, we must remain consistent, because it is one of the most effective instruments at the moment," said L. Linkevičius.
Lithuania's Foreign Minister recalled the excellent conditions for doing business in Lithuania, the success of the liquefied natural gas terminal (LNG) terminal, which had allowed Lithuania to make a breakthrough in the field of energy independence. He called on the U.S. to promote liquefied gas exports to Europe. The representatives of the Congress highlighted Lithuania's efforts to strengthen defence and to increase defence spending up to 2 percent of its GDP, and thanked for lending strong support to transatlantic cooperation. They also mentioned Lithuania's efforts to strengthen energy security and activities of the Vilnius-based NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence.
The Congressman stressed that the U.S. was implementing its commitments to European security. The U.S. has more than doubled the costs of the European Deterrence Initiative, deployed American soldiers and heavy weapons to Poland, strengthened sanctions against Russia, and raised the issue concerning the negative impact of Nord Stream 2.
The congressional delegation was composed of six members of the United States House of Representatives, representing both the Democratic and Republican parties: Hal Rogers, Rodney Frelinghuysen, Henry Cuellar, Tom Cole, John J. Duncan and Steve Womack. They also met with the Prime Minister of Lithuania Saulius Skvernelis, the members of the Seimas (Parliament) of Lithuania, representatives of the Ministry of National Defence and civil society.