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Archive for Lithuania

Newsline: Lithuania raps Chinese diplomats for role at pro-Hong Kong protest

Lithuania said on Monday it had lodged a protest to the Chinese embassy after some of its diplomats were involved in disruptions at a pro-Hong Kong protest in the capital Vilnius last month. Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Chinese diplomats acted “in violation of public order” at the Aug. 23 event, which was organized to show solidarity with anti-Beijing protesters in Hong Kong. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lithuania-china/lithuania-raps-chinese-diplomats-for-role-at-pro-hong-kong-protest-idUSKCN1VN1GV) A police spokesman told Reuters that two Chinese citizens were detained and fined 15 euros ($17) each after people waving Chinese flags agitated at the protest. “We have information that some (Chinese) diplomats were more active than they should, and that is not acceptable,” Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told reporters, without giving further details or naming them.

Newsline: Lithuania Recalls Ambassador to Russia Over E-Mail Threats

Lithuania’s Ambassador to Russia Remigijus Motuzas has been recalled from Moscow over the threats that targeted him and members of embassy staff, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry told Sputnik on Apr. 12. “Yes, the ambassador was recalled for consultations. This is connected with a letter sent to the embassy by e-mail containing threats to the ambassador and the embassy staff related to the case of January 13,” the ministry said, adding that the Russian foreign ministry was promptly informed of the move. (https://sputniknews.com/europe/201904121074077564-lithuania-ambassador-threats/) The ministry specified that Motuzas was granted the status of a “special witness” in a pre-trial investigation into the case of illegal visa issuance. According to the ministry, the ambassador was recalled for about a week, and his duties will be temporarily performed by the deputy head of the mission.

Newsline: Former Lithuanian ambassador to Russia arrested

Lithuania’s Special Investigation Service has arrested Rimantas Šidlauskas, the country’s former ambassador to the Russian Federation. The Lithuanian news outlet Delfi reported that the diplomat is suspected of “influence trading”: law enforcement agents believe that he promised to acquire a Schengen Zone visa for a Russian citizen in exchange for that individual’s efforts to “influence a particular group of people.” (https://meduza.io/en/news/2019/04/08/former-lithuanian-ambassador-to-russia-arrested-on-allegations-of-helping-russian-banker-get-schengen-visa) That Russian citizen may be Rinat Nasyrov, a co-owner of New Industrial Bank, who was also reportedly arrested. The bank was deprived of its license in August of 2018 because Russia’s Central Bank found that it took part in suspicious business dealings.

Newsline: Lithuanian diplomat ‘murdered in eastern Ukraine’

Lithiuania’s honorary consul in eastern Ukraine has been murdered by rebels, according to the country’s foreign minister. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said that Mykola Zelenec, the country’s honorary consul in eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk, has been kidnapped and killed by the pro-Russian rebels there. Linkevicius, who was on a visit to Kyiv, posted the news on his Twitter account.


Newsline: Lithuania tells India to honour embassy pledge

Lithuania’s foreign minister has asked India to stand true to its promise of starting an embassy in Vilnius. The assurance was given in 2005 by then Indian external affairs minister K Natwar Singh. Currently, the Indian mission for Lithuania is based out of Warsaw, Poland. A ‘lack of funds’ has prevented India from opening an embassy in Vilnius. In an exclusive interview to TOI, foreign minister Linas Linkevicius said Lithuania opened its embassy in New Delhi in 2008, amid the deepest financial crisis of modern times. “With bilateral and economic ties between India and Lithuania growing steadily, it is time for India to start an embassy in Vilnius,” Linkevicius said. “Around 3,000 Lithuanian citizens travel to India each year. For visas, they have to send their passports to Poland, which is inconvenient. An Indian mission in Vilnius will be highly welcome. ” Linkevicius also extended an invitation to his Indian counterpart, Sushma Swaraj, to visit Lithuania.


Newsline: Spanish FM summons ambassadors of Latvia, Lithuania

The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned on Tuesday the “Catalonia supporting” ambassadors of Latvia and Lithuania. Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo called Latvian ambassador to Spain Janis Echemanis and Lithuania’s ambassador to Spain Audra Plepyte on account of their supporting demands by Spain’s Catalonia region for independence. Margallo expressed Spain’s reactions against the issue, reminding of the Spanish constitution and the entrance rules to the European Union (EU). “No opinion to support Catalonia’s independence has been stated, the Spanish media has falsified the statements,” the governments of Latvia and Lithuania said in a written statement.


Newsline: Lithuanian ambassadors to Azerbaijan, Hungary fired after phone conversation posted on YouTube

Two high-ranking Lithuanian diplomats were fired Thursday after their telephone conversations criticizing the president and insulting the countries where they served were secretly recorded and uploaded to YouTube. The country’s ambassador to Azerbaijan, Arunas Zurauskas, and its ambassador to Hungary, Nerijus Juska, will be removed from duty by September 30, President Dalia Grybauskaite’s office said. Four telephone conversations between the two diplomats were posted on YouTube in July. In the recording, the ambassadors criticized and joked with each other about Grybauskaite, the prime minister and Azerbaijan and Hungary. Among other things, they made sarcastic comments about Grybauskaite’s choice to fly low-cost airlines on official trips. It is not clear who recorded the calls and uploaded them to the site. The accounts used to post the sound clips were created the same day and removed shortly after the scandal broke. Earlier this month, Grybauskaite acknowledged that the conversations were “very unprofessional” and immature.


Newsline: Italy compensates Lithuania for Soviet embassy grab

Italy agreed to hand over a property in central Rome to Lithuania as compensation for an embassy building seized by the Soviet Union on the eve of World War II. Lithuania will take over 700 square metres (7,500 square feet) in Palazzo Blumenstihl free-of-charge on a 99-year lease, under the deal signed by Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi and his Lithuanian counterpart Linas Linkevicius. “De facto it becomes our property,” Linkevicius said of the premises worth an estimated nine million euros ($11.8 million). The deal must still be approved by Italian lawmakers. In 1940, Lithuania was forced to leave its embassy building in Rome, known as Villa Lituania, soon after the Soviet Union occupied the Baltic state under Moscow’s secret Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany.


Newsline: Belarus downplays Embassy attack

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko says he does not call last week’s incident at the Lithuanian Embassy in Minsk a terrorist act. “Recently, the so-called Molotov cocktails were thrown into the territory of Lithuania’s Embassy in Minsk. Earlier the same happened at the Russian Embassy. It was not some kind of a terrorist act,” he said while visiting Belarus’ state university of economics. He also said that the persons who threw the bottles with flammable liquid into the Russian Embassy compound were found and are now detained. “Lithuania was squealing: ‘political prisoners,’ but when they received some bottles they called it a terrorist act,” the Belarusian president said. According to him, it is not only a case of double standards but also “rustic politics.” On Nov. 8, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania summoned the Ambassador of Belarus to Lithuania Vladimir Drazhin to protest the attack on the Lithuanian Embassy in Minsk. Two bottles with flammable liquid were thrown at the Embassy on Nov. 6. Drazhin said that Belarus regretted the incident. He noted that the investigation of malignant hooliganism received a lot of attention.


Newsline: Lithuania Calls Belarus Embassy Attack ‘Terrorist Act’

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis said an attempt to set fire to his country’s embassy in the Belarusian capital of Minsk was “a terrorist act” against the Baltic nation. The police extinguished a blaze started when burning bottles of flammable liquid were thrown over the embassy fence in Minsk about 10:45 p.m. Azubalis urged Belarusian authorities to investigate the incident, in which no one was injured, and to ensure better security at the embassy.