Ambassador of Lithuania: I would not say that the meeting at the foreign ministry was very ordinary, summoning of the ambassador has a certain temperature - as for ministers’ arrival at the rally, there are free people in a free country, they have a right to different opinions

The ministers who visited Tbilisi care about Georgia and about its future. They chose to meet and stand in front of the people who are supporting the future of Georgia within the European Union. There are free people in a free country. They have a right to different opinions. And this is how democracy works, - Ambassador of Lithuania to Georgia Andrius Kalindra said in an exclusive interview with InterPressNews, thereby responding to the participation of the Foreign Ministers of Lithuania, Estonia, Iceland and Latvia in the student march held in Tbilisi on May 15 and to the criticism of the Georgian authorities.

“Let me just remind you that in August of 2008, the Lithuanian President, alongside the Latvian, Estonian, Polish and Ukrainian Presidents, came to Georgia to extend a hand of support, while the Russian military contingent was still in Georgia’s territory. The ministers who visited Tbilisi freed up their schedules to devote 24 hours to Georgia. They care about Georgia and about its future; and Ministers chose to meet and stand in front of the people who are supporting the future of Georgia within the European Union. This coincides with our foreign policy priorities and the constitution of Georgia, which the EU aspiration is part of. The ministers had very open and frank discussions. This is how we do perceive diplomacy. At the same time, we should not hide that there is the part of population that may think a bit differently and another part of population that maybe is even pushing harder for the government to go to this direction of Georgia’s EU integration. So, I would appreciate that Georgian people would take this visit as a very friendly step, as well as a very serious signal for Georgia's people and for the government of Georgia. And also, that the outcome of everything that has been done and decided in Georgia, will have an effect on Georgia's EU aspiration, especially when we are on the edge of talking about Georgia starting its EU accession negotiations. We went through that process say, twenty-five years ago. We knew that once again we had to be the champions among champions to prove to the EU member states that we were ready to be accepted into the European Union. This is what we wish to share.

To answer the question about criticism. There are free people in a free country. They have a right to different opinions. And this is how democracy works”, said the ambassador.

As for his summoning to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on May 31, he said that the parties exchanged opinions regarding the current events, however, at the same time, "summoning the ambassador to the ministry has a certain temperature, a certain diplomatic psychology."

“This meeting was one of the biggest on the agenda. We have discussed and exchanged opinions about the current developments. But once again, our mandate as diplomats is through discussions to find the way of bringing our countries even closer. I would not say in diplomatic terms that the meeting was very ordinary. Summoning of the ambassador has a certain temperature, I would say, and a certain diplomatic psychology. But still, I'm confident that this will not negatively affect the relations which we stand for”, he said.

In the interview, the ambassador also spoke about the event held on May 31 to celebrate Georgian Police Day, which was not attended by the ambassadors of the US and EU countries, and the foreign diplomatic corps was represented only at the level of representatives of embassies. Andrius Kalindra said that ambassadors always attend all important days for Georgia, but in this particular case they had other meetings.

“In our professional life here, there is a huge set of different kinds of invitations. We appreciate that we, as a diplomatic corps, are being invited to express support. So, this issue of appearance or not appearance, I would not just put it in as black or white. Definitely, the police day in different countries is being celebrated or commemorated in a different way. but at the same time, on my behalf, there are not any kind of excuses or compromises when it comes to events dedicated to the day of independence, or of restoration of independence, or the day which is one of the main days of Georgia. We did have, on that same day, other meetings that afterwards we had to work on, as part of a mandate also to report on the developments in the country. Usually, we use common sense in such cases”, he said.

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