In Tbilisi, Linkevičius focuses on European security and the progress of Sakartvelo
On 11 September in Tbilisi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius attended an international conference and discussed security in Europe. The conference was also attended by a Senior Fellow at Florida International University David Kramer, other politicians and experts.
Lithuania‘s Foreign Minister drew the participants‘ attention to European security challenges, especially to Russia's aggressive actions and behavior: "The continuing militarization of borders with Europe, the use of disinformation and cyber-attacks to stir up turmoil, and to undermine the values we cherish, such as the rule of law and democracy," said L. Linkevičius.
According to Lithuania‘s Foreign Minister, in this context it is necessary to maintain a strategic partnership with Europe‘s natural ally – the United States of America – when strengthening Europe's capabilities and increasing defense spending. In addition, L. Linkevičius stressed the need to keep up pressure on Russia and to impose new sanctions in response to malicious cyber activity carried out by the country.
The fourth annual international conference in Tbilisi: “World in 2018: Upside Down? was co-hosted by the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University and Georgian Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC).
In Tbilisi, the Minister L. Linkevičius also met with the President of Georgia Giorgio Margvelashvili, Chairperson of the Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze, Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia David Zalkaliani, and representatives of the opposition. They discussed the progress of Sakarvelo in implementing the Association Agreement with the European Union, the situation in South Caucasus, important national and international political issues.
"Sakartvelo is undoubtedly the leader of the Eastern Partnership countries, but it is very important to keep pace and further implement all the reforms needed for European and Euro-Atlantic integration," said the head of Lithuania‘s diplomacy in the meetings. He also urged the Government of Sakartvelo to ensure that the presidential elections on 28 October would be held transparently and democratically, and that the opportunity would be used to strengthen democratic processes and civil society.
During the meeting, the Lithuanian and Georgian Foreign Ministers also agreed to hold the fifth meeting of the Lithuanian-Georgian Commission for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration in Vilnius in the near future.
In Tbilisi, the Minister L. Linkevičius also confered the Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania on the theatre and film director and the founder of Georgia's unique hand shadow theatre "Budrugana Gagra" Gela Kandelaki.