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Lithuanian PM sees no grounds for 'reset' in relations with Russia

VILNIUS - Lithuania must take a responsible attitude to its national and economic interests, but there is no sufficient reason to speak about a "reset" in relations with Russia now, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said.  

"Are there any grounds for a reset in relations? I don't see any at the moment. The ball is on the Russian side," Skvernelis, who will run for president in May's election, told the public broadcaster LRT on Wednesday. 

"And if the neighboring country wants to improve relations or to have constructive, at least minimal, relations, then there should be some positive signal from that side. There hasn't been any so far," he added. 

Skvernelis underlined that he had never spoken of a strategic partnership with Russia, especially "for as long as we have this situation as to respect for international law."

"This is out of the question. We are talking about defending and protecting the interests of our state. (...) Let's look at how EU countries, at what level, cooperate and communicate. They are protecting their interests -- from economic to national. We also have to do so," he said. 

In January 2018, the prime minister said that a Lithuania-Russia intergovernmental commission that had held no meetings for years could resume its activities.

He said the bilateral dialog could trade relations and energy, agriculture and transport issues, as well as the situation of Lithuanian teachers in Russia's Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad.

In response to Skvernelis’ remarks, Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius then said that "currently, there are no prerequisites for renewing high-level political contacts".

The commission, headed by ministers, held its last meeting in Lithuania in October 2011.

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