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Talking Europe

Lithuanian FM: 'Rumours about the death of NATO are strongly exaggerated'

TALKING EUROPE
TALKING EUROPE FRANCE 24

"A problematic period": that's how Lithuania's foreign minister has described the lack of co-ordination within NATO that recently led French President Emmanuel Macron to decry the transatlantic military alliance as suffering from "brain death". Linas Linkevicius has told FRANCE 24 that "rumours about the death of NATO are strongly exaggerated", insisting - like Angela Merkel - that problems can be "overcome".

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Asked about US-EU relations over NATO, the Lithuanian foreign minister warned against "questionable initiatives" and "increasing mistrust" between the American and European sides of the alliance.

"Russia must rethink relations with the rest of the world, because there are rules, international law and everyone needs to comply with the law", he told FRANCE 24.

Linkevicius also spoke out against "retreating" from EU sanctions against Russia, which were imposed after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. "If we retreat, there will be more problems in the future. It will be a short-sighted strategy – some think that if we are co-operative and flexible then the other side will do the same. But unfortunately the other side takes this as a weakness and continues this policy which is not always very rational."

And as the EU considers its next phase of enlargement, Linkevicius gives some advice to Ukraine, Georgia and others: "Be patient. Keep moving. Do reforms – do them for your country and not for somebody else. The time will come – but when the time comes you must be ready; if not, you can only blame yourself."

Presented by Catherine Nicholson

Produced by Mathilde Bénézet, Céline Schmitt and Perrine Desplats
 

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