Source Pravda.Ru

Lithuania to comply with EU-Russian transit agreements

Lithuania will comply with the agreements reached between the European Union and Russia concerning the transit from the Kaliningrad region, Russia's enclave in the Baltic, to the rest of Russia via Lithuanian territory, the country's Foreign Minister Antanas Valionis said to journalists on Tuesday.

He described the agreements reached in Brussels on November 11th as "a search for a political compromise" and promised to study them more thoroughly.

"We do not believe that any new decisions may become an obstacle for Lithuania to join the EU and the Schengen zone," Valionis emphasized. Simplified transit would not burden the country with additional financial or administrative expenditures, he said.

Before Russian President Vladimir Putin's meeting with the EU leadership in Brussels, the Foreign Ministry of Lithuania had released a statement saying that issues of transit for Russian and Lithuanian citizens should be settled "on a parity basis".

At the Brussels summit, Russia and the EU agreed on a package of measures to ensure unhindered legal crossing of the Kaliningrad region borders. The EU will adopt necessary legislation so as to create by July 1, 2003, a mechanism of simplified transit documents for Russian citizens travelling from Kaliningrad to the rest of Russia by land.

Holders of such documents will not be allowed to get off the train during the transit via Lithuanian territory, and the time of transit will be limited. At the same time, Lithuania agreed to acknowledge interior passports of Russian citizens for issuing transit documents till December 31, 2004. Afterwards the documents will only be valid together with foreign passports of Russian citizens.