Linkevičius: ‘EU needs a dialogue with Russian civil society’
On 16 October, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius attended the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg, which discussed Iran, North Korea, Turkey and human rights issues.
The human rights issue was included in the agenda of the Council thanks to the Baltic and Nordic countries. The issue has received attention and Foreign Ministers had a lively debate on the EU policy on human rights. The EU Foreign Ministers emphasized the importance of maintaining the unity of the EU and of dedicating active efforts to protect human rights around the world, as well as clearly and loudly naming countries at risk for human rights violations. Minister Linkevičius called on the EU to pay greater attention to violations of political and civil liberties, and human rights in Russia and the occupied territories of its neighbouring countries (Ukraine, Georgia), as well as to seek mechanisms for providing coordinated and expeditious assistance to victims of the current Russian regime.
“We need a dialogue with Russian civil society, because there are many opinions in Russia besides the position of the Kremlin,” said Minister Linkevičius.
The EU Foreign Ministers discussed the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the Iran nuclear deal. Lithuania’s Foreign Minister noted that it was necessary to distinguish between the agreement that had been reached and the development of Iran’s ballistic missile program that caused real concerns, and Iran’s role amid growing tensions in the region. The Council also adopted additional EU autonomous measures against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
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