On November 10, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė met with Speaker of the Senate of Canada George J. Furey and a delegation of Canadian senators to discuss bilateral relations, support for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, the importance of strengthening NATO defence and deterrence, Canada’s contribution to the regional security of the Baltic States, and energy cooperation.
“The bilateral relations between Lithuania and Canada are rooted in the shared democratic and freedom values, which are well reflected in our growing bilateral cooperation. The friendship between our countries is also strengthened by the large and energetic community of Lithuanians living in Canada”, said Prime Minister Šimonytė.
The Prime Minister thanked Canada for its decision to open its Embassy in Vilnius this year. According to the Prime Minister, this will significantly contribute to the development of bilateral ties.
“With NATO countries having agreed on strengthening defence and deterrence at the Madrid Summit, we need to consistently work to put these decisions to practice, seeing Russia as a long-term threat that continues unabated, despite its failures in Ukraine”, the Prime Minister said. The changes in security architecture necessitate the NATO Alliance to consider the factor of Belarus, which is fully aligned with Russia and dependent on it. “We very much value Canada’s important contribution to the security of the entire Baltic region”, she noted.
The parties agreed on the need to continue to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s military aggression, including with heavy weapons, and to increase pressure on Russia, through new sanctions, as well as with assistance to Ukrainian war refugees.
As autocratic regimes weaponize energy and other fields, closer cooperation among the democracies is key in building resilience and reducing the continued dependence on autocracies, particularly in energy, noted the prime minister.
The Lithuanian Prime Minister stressed the importance of remembering that it is Russia’s war that is creating the current energy challenges and causing havoc in energy prices. Though big, these are but temporary challenges, and the Kremlin’s capacity to blackmail Europe over energy is phasing out, Šimonytė said.
The delegation also met with President Gitanas Nausėda to discuss the same issues. The Speaker of the Canadian Senate also conferred with President Nausėda regarding the NATO Summit to be held next July in Vilnius.