Valentinas Mazuronis. The great mistake of the Foreign Ministry and President Grybauskaitė?

Valentinas Mazuronis
DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

I am talking about the Lithuanian vote in the United Nations in support of the UN resolution which describes the US President Donald Trump‘s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Chief foreign policy advisor to President Dalia Grybauskaitė, Nerijus Aleksiejūnas stated that “Lithuania is consistent in its adherence to the position that the question of Jerusalem can only be resolved through negotiations.”

I will not dispute that the question of Jerusalem can only be resolved through negotiations, however… the UN vote was not about this. The vote in the UN was about which side we, Lithuania would support.

It is clear that the Lithuanian vote in the UN was not decisive in whether the resolution would pass or not, however this vote was very important for us in choosing to support or not support the US and Israel. By supporting these states “silently” as our neighbours Latvians did during the vote, remaining completely neutral and not participating in the vote as the Ukrainians did or by publically rejecting US requests to support their position and voting for the resolution, that is to say against the US in this important question for it, as Lithuania did.

I will not go into Israeli-Palestinian relations and the real possibility to move the negotiations out of deadlock, which is specifically what US President D. Trump was aiming for. In my opinion this move by President D. Trump could be a positive shift and would help the negotiation process move out of deadlock.

Instead I will talk of something else, about what we demonstrated by voting and taking this position.

We demonstrated that in decisive and important moments neither the US, nor Israel can hold Lithuania to be a firm ally or partner. That narrow, short term, perhaps even personal interests can decide our state’s position.

A normal question arises, why should both the US and Israel have to act otherwise regarding our state, when we need such support? Why should they listen to our requests and not act based on the same arguments we acted on when we disregarded their position and requests for support?

I understand that in this situation we had to choose, when most, including the major EU states differed in position from the US. I understand that we are EU members and have to seek united decisions with other EU member states, however…

The USA is our strategic partner and the most serious guarantee of our state security. This question was very important for both Israel, as it was for the US; while the EU states expressed their own positions only, by the way, different ones. Why did we have to choose the most acute vote against our strategic partners? I do not understand.

I believe that both the Foreign Ministry, as President D. Grybauskaitė made a serious mistake in choosing such a position in voting on the UN resolution.

He who does not work makes no mistakes. Let us hope that in the future discussions of the Lithuanian position in such difficult and subtle questions will be wider and more public.

Let us hope that we will find time for broader discussions on Lithuanian foreign policy questions, as well as ways and opportunities to fix mistakes made, how to not make more in the future.

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