Lithuanian and Swedish Foreign Ministers' meeting in Vilnius focuses on regional security and support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression
On 22 November, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Gabrielius Landsbergis met with the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billström, who is visiting Vilnius. Landsbergis highlighted that Lithuania and Sweden were like-minded on many issues, while cooperation with Lithuania's close neighbor and partner - Sweden - and other Nordic and Baltic countries was one of our top priorities.
"In the face of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, we must continue to mobilise our region, Europe as a whole, and the democratic world, provide political, economic, humanitarian, and military assistance to Ukraine, maintain pressure on Russia to end its military aggression against this country and defend the principles of democracy in international fora," the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Gabrielius Landsbergis said, when discussing with his Swedish counterpart the issues of strengthening security in the region, supporting Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, as well as Sweden's upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU).
According to Lithuania's Foreign Minister, it is now of the utmost importance for partners to mobilise and provide urgent support for the reconstruction of Ukraine's energy and civilian infrastructure, which is constantly targeted and destroyed by Russia. Landsbergis also expressed his hope that the EU would begin talks on a new package of sanctions against Russia in the near future.
When speaking about the issue of ensuring Russia's accountability, Landsbergis underlined that Lithuania and Sweden belonged to a nucleus formed by the countries that aimed to help Ukraine set up a Special Tribunal to prosecute the crime of aggression. The Special Tribunal would fill the existing jurisdictional loophole and judge the top leadership of Russia for the dire consequences of the war against Ukraine.
"We are glad that Sweden, which will take over the Presidency of the Council of the EU on 1 January next year, intends to pay close attention to Ukraine and the impact of Russia's aggression against Ukraine on European security, energy, and economy. At the same time, we hope that during the period of the Swedish Presidency, we will make significant progress towards the start of Ukraine's EU membership negotiations," said Landsbergis.
Landsbergis welcomed the fact that the close ties between Lithuania and Sweden were also correlated with the economy: "Sweden is one of Lithuania's main trading partners and the second-largest foreign investor in Lithuania. The trust of Swedish investors is an incentive to continue firmly along the path of economic diversification."
With Sweden and Finland's decision to join NATO, the prospects for cooperation with Sweden are only getting stronger, especially in the area of defence and security. According to the Foreign Minister, "After the accession of our close Nordic neighbours to NATO, the Alliance will become even stronger, and the Nordic-Baltic region will be much safer. We expect that 32 members will attend the next NATO summit in Vilnius in 2023."
This is the first visit to Lithuania by the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billström, after the parliamentary (Riksdag) election on 11 September 2022.