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Landsbergis addresses OSCE ODIHR Director Mecacci: “We must not create a visibility of legitimacy for aggressive dictatorial regimes and their representatives”

Created: 2024.05.15 / Updated: 2024.05.15 17:30

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, Gabrielius Landsbergis, sent a letter to Matteo Mecacci, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), in which he addressed the decision of the ODIHR not to accept Lithuania’s invitation to observe this weekend’s presidential election in Lithuania. 

The Foreign Minister emphasised that Lithuania fully implements OSCE principles and rules, including the organisation of free and fair elections. The presidential elections held on 12 May 2024 are just another proof of that. According to the Central Electoral Commission of the Republic of Lithuania, the latest elections were observed by more than 2,000 observers, including 20 international observers from Estonia, Latvia, Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine and the United States. Minister Landsbergis also emphasised that the aggressor Russia and its accomplice Belarus could not be considered equal members of the OSCE or other international formats due to gross violations of international law. 

“If instead of isolating Russia and Belarus, we will further cooperate with them, impunity will encourage these countries to continue or launch new attacks not only against other OSCE states but also against the OSCE itself,” the Foreign Minister writes. 

Landsbergis also drew attention to the fact that Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine and the involvement of Belarus in this brutal aggression were condemned at the international level and called on the OSCE to seriously discuss whether the aggressors should sit at the same table with democracies in international formats. 

In his letter, the Foreign Minister notes that Lithuania, in line with international and domestic legislation and its consistent position, decided not to invite Russian and Belarusian aggressors to observe the presidential election in Lithuania due to gross violations of international law by these autocratic regimes and threats to national security posed by these regimes. Annual national threat assessment reports of Lithuanian intelligence institutions state that Russia and Belarus pose the highest threat to Lithuania’s national security, including possible interference in the processes of domestic politics. 

“The international isolation of the terrorist regimes of Russia and Belarus is a consistent and principled direction of Lithuania’s foreign and national security policy, which we are determined to continue. We firmly believe that we shall not create a visibility of legitimacy for aggressive dictatorship regimes and their representatives, and we shall not allow them to interfere in the internal affairs of democratic states,” - says the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania. 

The Foreign Minister also stressed that, despite similar restrictions in the Ukrainian parliament’s legislation, the ODIHR sent full-fledged election observation missions to the last three elections in Ukraine in 2019 and 2020. Landsbergis called on the ODIHR to reconsider its position on the observation of elections, to which aggressor countries are not invited.

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