Lithuania and Portugal cooperate closely to address security challenges
On 23 February in Lisbon, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius met with the Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs Augusto Santos Silva, the Chair of the European Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Portugal Regina Bastos, the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs Sérgio Sousa Pinto, and the Chairman of the National Defence Committee Marco António Costa. The meetings focused on the development of bilateral relations, security situation in Europe, transatlantic ties, Eastern Neighbourhood, and the key items on the European agenda.
“Lithuania and Portugal are geographically far apart, but share a strong commitment to the collective defence of NATO. Portugal is one of the most active NATO countries that contributes to the security of Lithuania and of the region. The country has deployed its land, air and naval forces to Lithuania. Portugal has sent rotating troops and equipment to Lithuania for three times and has participated in the Baltic air policing mission three times. The country intends to actively contribute to ensuring the region’s security also in the future,” said the Foreign Minister.
During the meetings, the Lithuanian side emphasized the importance of the EU assistance for the implementation of reforms in the Eastern Partnership associated countries. Lithuania’s Foreign Minister called on Portugal to continue to support the EU’s common position on sanctions against Russia until the implementation of the Minsk agreements, as well as to back Ukraine’s ongoing reforms.
As regards the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, emphasis was placed on the protection of the status and rights of Lithuanian and Portuguese citizens living in the UK. The interlocutors also noted the possibility to closely cooperate in dealing with hybrid and cyber threats. The attention was drawn to Lithuania’s efforts to contribute to the reduction of southern threats.
Linkevičius also emphasized that more intensive bilateral economic relations were beneficial to both sides, including in the fields of life sciences, high technology, tourism, and education exchanges. In addition, Portugal is one of the most attractive countries for Lithuanian students and lecturers participating in the Erasmus exchange program.
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister also gave interviews to the main television channel of Rádio e Televisão de Portugal (RTP) and a Portuguese daily national newspaper The Público.