L. Linkevičius: Solidarity measures will contribute to strengthening of EU’s external borders
On 6 March, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius attended the Extraordinary Meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Zagreb, Croatia. The meeting that was organized upon the request of Greece focused on the humanitarian crisis in Syria, the eruption of tensions along Greece's land border with Turkey, and a political solution to the Syrian crisis.
Ministers unanimously agreed that Turkey was in a difficult situation with regard to large numbers of refugees, and needed assistance. However, Turkey should not attempt to pressure the EU by refusing to halt the flow of Europe-bound migrants.
According to the Minister L. Linkevičius, the agreement on a cease-fire reached between Russia and Turkey is important (if and) only if it is implemented.
“This agreement plays an important role in the protection of civilians, provision of humanitarian aid, and ending further bloodshed. We welcome the agreement and wish the parties to implement it," said Lithuania’s Foreign Minister.
Ministers reiterated the EU's full solidarity with Greece, which faced an unprecedented situation, as well as with Bulgaria, Cyprus and other member states in their efforts to manage the EU's external borders. Lithuania contributes to solidarity measures by providing aid both through Frontex and directly to member states requesting assistance.
In response to the request of urgent support with officers and equipment by the Frontex Executive Director, who has agreed to launch a rapid border intervention to assist Greece, the Lithuanian State Border Guard Service is sending a vehicle with thermovisor equipment and eight border surveillance experts for the two months period. The Fire and Rescue Department is sending civil protection equipment such as tents, beds, pillows, and sleeping bags. In addition, Lithuania is prepared to deploy the rapid reaction pool officers in accordance with the needs.
Photos: Sanjin Strukic