Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Lithuanian FM expresses concern about situation in Belarus

Audronius Azubalis sounded an alarm over the situation in Belarus, which he said was one of challenges to the European Union.

Speaking to reporters following a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Nordic and Baltic states, Mr. Azubalis cited the situation in Belarus and elections in Ukraine and Georgia among challenges threatening to derail the EU’s Eastern Partnership program.

"What matters most is that we speak about how these challenges can be overcome," Lithuanian news agencies quoted him as saying.

Mr. Azubalis warned the EU against scaling down its political and financial involvement in the Eastern Partnership program and said that the Baltic and Nordic states sought to support and develop the Eastern Partnership countries’ aspirations for closer relations with the EU.

"The tense economic situation in the southern neighborhood countries should not make the EU forget its political and financial commitments with regard to the Eastern Partnership countries," he was quoted as saying.

"For many decades we will be judged based on how far-sighted the international community’s attitude to the southern and eastern neighbors was in this hard time," the Lithuanian foreign minister said.