Posts filed under ‘Ukraine’

A snow (rain) meeting in Lithuania

Rain and DanceAs the BNS informed foreign policy strategists from the United States, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania gathered in Vilnius on Thursday for an informal discussion of challenges to Euro-Atlantic dialogue.

The two-day meeting is attended by representatives of Lithuanian, Latvian, Polish and Swedish governments (Carl Bildt is going to participate also), foreign affairs and defence ministries, the US Department of State and the presidential administration and the European Commission’s Development Directorate and experts of US analytical centres.Among participants is Deputy Assistant to US Vice-President for National Security Affairs Joseph R. Wood and Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Daniel Fried.

According to information available to BNS, some participants of the Snow Summit preferred to remain unnamed.

BNS has also learned that the informal meeting was named the Snow Summit in hopes of Lithuania being covered with snow and had no other code meaning.

The BNS informed that the Lithuanian foreign policy analysts say that the meeting is held amid tendencies of stalling Euro-Atlantic integration in Eastern Europe and South Caucasus. Participants will exchange ideas and search for new instruments to accelerate the process, which is stalled by the fresh democracies in the regions and the Russian efforts to impede their Euro-Atlantic bids.

The experts say that the informal consultations of NATO partners last decade contributed to the Euro-Atlantic integration efforts in the Baltic states, which have already achieved NATO and European Union (EU) membership. Revival of the practice in Lithuania is expected.

According to information available to BNS, other items on the agenda of the Snow Summit include European-American cooperation in the context of energy, as well as perspectives of relations between European and US partners in the North Atlantic Alliance, which have alienated following the US invasion of Iraq.

According to the latest information available (just looked out of the window from my Vilnius home) the Snow meeting is going to turn into a Rain meeting since it is raining in Vilnius.  Is that an another consequence of the global worming?  Well, the participants of the meeting will not discuss that.  Besides, as we say in Lithuania ‘Čia Lietuva, čia lietūs lyja’ (It’s Lithuania, it rains here).  Please note that in Lithuanian ‘Lietuva’ is Lithuania and ‘lietus’ is rain.

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January 18, 2008 at 11:22 am Leave a comment

Russia is out of the CFET: subsequences for the E Europe, the Lithuanian few

Russian Nuclear bombsThe Baltic States are situated next to Russia; hence this region feels the beating of the Russian bear pulse very well.  The Western Kremlinologists and the experts on Russia ridiculed those Balts who warned the West that Russia is irreversibly moving away from the liberal democracy and that Mr Putin is not a ‘democrat’.  Those warnings made only some months after Putin became the President were ignored and laughed at.  Now it is not funny any more.  Now Russia is on its route out from the Conventional Forces Europe treaty.   Hence, lets listen that some Lithuanian annalists have to say on the subject.

As the BNS reports Russia’s withdrawal from the Conventional Forces Europe treaty and its efforts to restore its military influence in post-Soviet countries may transform the Baltic States into demilitarized “grey” zone, Lithuanian foreign policy analysts believe.

The foreign policy experts are convinced that Russia would carry out its threat to leave the treaty on Dec. 12, thus facilitating deployment of more military equipment in South Caucasus and then “probably with somebody else’s hands” trying to provoke Tbilisi to a military conflict, which could discredit Georgia’s opportunity of joining NATO before the Alliance’s summit to take place in Romania next April.

The analysts said on condition of anonymity that Russia was also ready to take into consideration the aim of Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin to remain in power “at any price,” therefore, would guarantee him the Dnestr region votes and withdraw its forces in return for his loyalty to the Moscow course.

At the same time, by artificially escalating issues of Iran and the independence-seeking Kosovo and triggering contraposition of Euro-Atlantic partners on these matters, as well as on energy and economic issues, Russia could offer the West its plan for return to the Conventional Forces Europe treaty – in return for a permit to Russia to set conditions of the agreement.

One of the conditions could be “setting of very low ceiling of military equipment for the Baltic states,” which would pull the balance of military power in the NATO-Russian border region away from NATO, as well as from the Baltic nations.

The analysts close to the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry believe that the West continue to have a certain degree of fear of “cold war” and would be glad to see Russia change its mind.

In their opinion, Russia’s true aims and intentions will clear up in the coming six months and are now clouded by the superb public relations, which cannot be resisted by all Western countries.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said back in the summer of 2007 that his country would stop observing the treaty, which restricts Russia’s military capacity in its European part – i.e., the number of tanks and troops close to the Baltic States. The parliament has endorsed the decision, which has also been officially forwarded to NATO.

Russia has not ratified the document and expressed preoccupation over NATO’s failure to do this, as well as the fact that the Baltic States have also not joined the treaty, which has been signed between the Alliance and the no longer existent post-Communist Warsaw pact.

Meanwhile, Lithuania has repeatedly stated its readiness to join the Conventional Forces Europe treaty under favorable conditions. Lithuania could only join the document signed in Istanbul after its enforcement, i.e., ratification by all 30 original members of the document. No new members including the Baltic countries may be allowed to join the Conventional Forces Europe treaty until its endorsement.

Five years after the final deadline that expired in 2002, Russia has not fulfilled one of the key conditions of the treaty – withdrawal of troops from Georgia and the Dnestr region in Moldova. Up until now, all NATO members held a position that they would not meet their obligation to ratify the treaty until Russia fulfils its commitments.

In August 1939, the Stalin-led Soviet Union and the Nazi Germany signed the so-called Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and its secret protocols on unlawful division of Europe. The deals enabled the Soviets to occupy the Baltic States for 50 years and appoint puppet governments.

Should the Balts be afraid again?

November 22, 2007 at 9:19 pm 3 comments

Lithuanians don’t want to close the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant

Ignalina N plantIt appears that the highest Lithuanian officials are joining a debate, which is gaining momentum, on trying to save the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) from closure at the end of 2009. It started during the energy Conference in Vilnius last week.  Lithuania’s Economy Minister Vytas Navickas declared that the European Union might allow Lithuania to continue operating the plant through 2009, until a new nuclear plant is build.

Mr. Navickas appealed to the fact that once the plant is shut down, the prices of electrical energy will go up by 40 percent and 75 percent of Lithuania’s energy sector will depend on natural gas from Russia. Lithuania has undertaken to decommission the INNP in 2009 and, together with the Baltic countries and Poland, is planning to build a new nuclear power plant, which will be put into production around the year 2015. However, a day later the European commissioner for energy Andris Piebalgs has urged Lithuania not to even think about continuing the operation of the INPP.As the Commissioner announced in Kauno Diena “I cannot understand the arguments of the economy minister. The plant must be shut down as scheduled, as this is provided for in Lithuania’s accession agreement. Besides, there is a mechanism to compensate the decommissioning in place. The grant will be lost unless the obligations are met. And finally, the decommissioning date is no surprise for Lithuania.  Do not waste time on empty discussions.”

Howerver, on the 16 October the joined President Valdas Adamkus the Minister of Economy and expressed his believe that Lithuania may convince the European Union (EU) of the necessity to extend the lifespan of Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP). He is confident, however, that the country will avoid energy famine under any scenario.

As the President told on the interview to the Zinių Radijas “First of all, we shall evaluate the current circumstances, future prospects, and then go, talk and negotiate using the language of arguments; I think this is reasoned and necessary. I think it is possible to convince them. Since there are lots of reasonable people and they see the actual situation as it is, since we are a EU Member State, and it is important for the EU not to ruin the whole economic life of one of its members. I think we will not be able to build a new nuclear facility by 2009; it might be expected that we will build by 2012 if we are not put back by vain discussions now. Reasonable people may always agree on a period of two or three years, I believe”.

The President continued, “The most important is that we have a new power plant to be built, and it would be unreasonable, irrational to cut any further supply, sources we are working on at present, somewhere in the middle of the road. I think that any reasonable establishment or a person will understand, this may be reasoned, and we may consider the period of extension so as to have us shift from one system to the other”.  

As the BNS noticed the President saw no major threat of energy famine during the transitional period even if Lithuania failed to agree on the postponement of INPP closure date, and enumerated various options. “I will be visiting Sweden in mid-November, I have already spoken about a possibility to have a link to Sweden via the Baltic Sea, through Estonia, and get electricity from Sweden. Again, Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko, who is well aware of the circumstances, told me during the just-ended Vilnius Energy Conference that Ukraine was ready to sell electricity to Lithuania, if required”.

Speaking about the planned new nuclear power station, the president encouraged to switch from talks to concrete work. “We must build it without questions about success. We should arrange without delay who will build it and how will we divide the financial responsibilities among us. Then we should sit around a table with main participants of the projects, namely Latvians and Estonians. I see no problems with them. When it comes to Poland, the Poles said clearly during the Vilnius conference that the power plant was vital to them, as well,” said Adamkus.  

In his words, Poland’s demands to receive more electricity than planned are natural. “I had a thorough discussion with Polish president and other officials of Poland – the demand for electricity is necessary for them amid developing economic life and industry, they have no other way out. If we had such a problem, we would also seek to get as much electricity as we need,” the president noted.

As the BNS informed today a Member of the European Parliament Danute Budreikaite said today that Lithuania still has not exhausted every possibility in the negotiations over extending the operation of the INNP and suggests that the government should make more efforts seeking to postpone the date of shutting down the plant.

The MEP also says that back in September 2006, when the European Council was asked if, should a new situation emerge, Lithuania may “readdress the terms of shutting down the 2nd bloc of the Ignalina nuclear power plant anew,” the answer was that according to the provisions of said Article 37, the concerned Member State, to utilize the opportunity to apply the general safeguard provision, must first of all approach the Commission asking for a permission to take preservation measures based on the information that has been collected and forwarded to it.

“After that, the Commission issues a permission for the preservation measures that, in its own discretion, it considers necessary. So the Commission must asses whether the measures that the author of the question has envisaged can be taken,” the member of the EP says.

October 16, 2007 at 8:38 pm Leave a comment

Agreements on oil pipeline between Caspian, Black and Baltic Seas signed in Vilnius

Brodi - PolockAs the BNS reported five-country cooperation agreements on implementation of the project of the pipeline Odessa-Brody-Plock-Gdansk were signed in Vilnius on evening October 10.

The agreement on energetic cooperation and one more energy document were signed by representatives of ministries and companies of Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

“The signing of this agreement is just the beginning of a long road. I hope that we will continue working together to prevent insignificant technical disagreements from causing a slow-down of the project. The oil pipeline unites and will continue to unite our regions, creates added value and strengthens energy security in the whole of the region,” Lithuania’s President Valdas Adamkus said on Octover 10.

As the BNS remained the signing is expected to be the last step for launching the alternative project to Russia’s oil supply. Odessa-Brody-Plock-Gdansk is planned to be the first pipeline to link the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea regions with countries of the Baltic Sea region and become the new way of oil transit to Europe.

October 12, 2007 at 10:52 am 2 comments

Vilnius Energy Summit Live by Internet

Responsible Energy for Responsible PartnersAs the President’s press office announced the Vilnius Energy Security Conference 2007: Responsible Energy for Responsible Partners held on 10-11 October 2007 is broadcasted live by Internet via Windows Media and RealMedia

October 10, 2007 at 11:50 am 1 comment

Vilnius Energy Security Conference 2007 to start in Vilnius tomorrow

Responsible Energy for Responsible PartnersAs the BNS informed seven presidents, 12 ministers, top-ranking officials of the United States and the European Union (EU), as well as experts and representatives of energy companies will gather in Vilnius later this week to discuss global energy security and search for the framework for EU external energy policy.

Presidents of Lithuania, Poland, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Latvia, Romania and Ukraine, EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, US Deputy Energy Secretary Clay Sell, representatives of governments of Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Spain, Great Britain, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Norway, France, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey and Bayrammyrat Myradov, executive director of Turkmenistan’s presidential state agency for management and use of hydrocarbon resources, will participate in the conference – the Vilnius Energy Security Conference 2007: Responsible Energy for Responsible Partners – in the Lithuanian capital on Wednesday and Thursday.

French President Nicolas Sarcozy will not attend the event because he will be visiting Russia on these days. Russia delegated Ambassador Boris Tsepov despite the fact that the invitation was sent to President Vladimir Putin.

Agenda of the two-day conference organized by Lithuanian and Polish presidents, Valdas Adamkus and Lech Kaczynski, includes signing of two five-country agreements concerning cooperation among companies and ministries of Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Georgia implementing the project of the pipeline Odessa-Brody-Plotsk-Gdansk.

It is expected to be the last step for launching the alternative project to Russia’s oil supply. Odessa-Brody-Plotsk-Gdansk is planned to be the first pipeline to link the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea regions with countries of the Baltic Sea region and become the new way of oil transit to Europe.

October 9, 2007 at 12:31 pm 4 comments

Five countries to sign in Vilnius agreements on alternative oil pipeline

Odesa BrodnyLithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Georgia plan to sign an agreement on joint work to implement an Odessa-Brody-Plock-Gdansk oil pipeline project in Vilnius during the Vilnius Energy Security Conference on Oct. 10-11.  The Pipeline should would provide an alternative to Russian oil supplies for the countries concerned. As Neringa Pazusiene, a department director at the Lithuanian Economy Ministry, told BNS “This will be the last step to be taken in order to get the project started. The ministerial meeting in Tbilisi served as a catalyst for reaching agreement,” she said.

Sarmatia was founded by Poland‘s PERN and Ukraine’s Ukrtransnafta.

As the BNS writes Sarmatia’s shareholders gave the go-ahead for increasing the company’s authorized share capital to 12 million zlotys (3.2 mln) from 2 million zlotys to bring in Azerbaijan’s Socar, Georgia’s GOGC and Lithuania’s Klaipedos Nafta (Klaipeda Oil) in the mid of July of 2007.

The state-run oil product terminal operator, Klaipedos Nafta, expects to have 1 percent of the shares in Sarmatia.The Odessa-Brody-Plock-Gdansk pipeline is planned to be the first oil pipeline to link the Caspian and Black Sea regions to the.

Baltic Sea region and to become a new oil transit route to Europe.

October 1, 2007 at 3:50 pm 1 comment

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