Lithuanian Foreign Ministry handed over a note to the Russian Embassy with proposals to launch negotiations on the Kaliningrad issue. (The Kaliningrad Region is a Russian exclave on the Baltic Sea).
Information and Cultural Department of the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry told RIA Novosti that Lithuania had proposals to introduce privilege visas for citizens of Russia and Belorussia that would meet requirements of the European Union from the 1st of January, 2003. At the same time all privileges for transit through Lithuanian territory that citizens of the Kaliningrad Region have now would be abrogated.
Lithuania proposes to introduce privilege visas for international transportation, for men of art and culture and athletes as well as for those who are above 60 years old. The draft envisages introduction of cheap, long-term visas for Lithuanian citizens to travel to the Kaliningrad Region and for citizens of the Kaliningrad Region to travel to Lithuania.
Besides, the Lithuanian government has allowed citizens of the Kaliningrad Region to travel to Lithuania visa-free till the 1st of July 2003.
Lithuanian draft on the Kaliningrad issue has also been handed over to Belorussia.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969