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Statements on EU army cause US distrust, Lithuanian formin says (expands)
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    Statements on EU army cause US distrust, Lithuanian formin says (expands)

    PAUNGURIAI, Trakai District, Lithuania, Jan 11, BNS – Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius on Friday slammed statements on the creation of an EU army, saying that they cause the United States' distrust.

    "Talk about a European army has no basis not only because nobody knows what that is, but it also causes dissatisfaction and distrust on the other side of the Atlantic for no reason (…) and brings in even more confusion which, in our opinion, is unnecessary," the minister told journalists in Trakai District, southern Lithuania, after the annual Snow Meeting of security policy experts.

    His comments came in response to the German and French leaders' calls late last year to create a European army which would bolster NATO.

    Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron say the United States lead by Donald Trump is moving away from European affairs and it needs to take care of security and protection from Russia itself.

    The Lithuanian minister underlined that Europe should not strengthen its defense "in isolation from all others".

    "If we do so autonomously, duplicating NATO or competing with it, this will be highly counterproductive and, in fact, a big disrespect for taxpayers, because we know that the money is taken away from other projects, other programs", he said.  

    The idea of a European force is a highly sensitive issue for European countries that regard defense as a matter of national sovereignty.

    The proposal was unveiled amid the US president's calls on Europe to contribute more funds to NATO.  

    Linkevicius noted that NATO's European members increased their defense spending following Trumps' calls, which is "a positive thing". 

    A US-CHINA WAR WOULD BE 'THE BIGGEST CATASTROPHE OF THE 21ST CENTURY'

    The international community is also concerned over Trump's recent statements that America is pulling out of Syria and Afghanistan as it no longer wants to serve as the "policemen of the world"

    Linkevicius hopes the United States will remain an active player in global politics.

    "The world's biggest economy, a country with probably the largest security potential, naturally, cannot ignore events all over the world," the minister said.

    In his words, emotional statements or „tweets (…) should not overshadow the general strategic picture" that NATO is the most successful and well-balanced military alliance.

    Ben Hodges, United States Army Europe's former commander who took part in the Snow Meeting, warned that America is "on a path to a conflict with China" and Europe will have to be able to deter Russia on its own.  

    Linkevicius said a US-China war would be "the biggest catastrophe of the 21st century". 

    "It's very hard to imagine the consequences both in nuclear terms and in other terms," the minister said. 

    "We have diplomacy, balancing of interests and joint projects for avoiding all this," he added.

    The Snow Meeting brought together around 100 politicians and experts from 15 countries.

    By Saulius Jakucionis

    Vilnius newsroom, politika@bns.lt, +370 5 205 85 10

     

    • Published: 11.01.2019 14:55
    • LETA, BNS
    •  
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