Joint statement of the Foreign Ministers of Australia and Lithuania
On 9 February 2022, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Senator the Hon Marise Payne and Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs His Excellency Gabrielius Landsbergis met in Canberra. Ministers Payne and Landsbergis welcomed Australia and Lithuania’s strong and growing bilateral relationship and recognised the potential for broader and more dynamic engagement with the establishment of Lithuania’s first embassy in Canberra.
Ministers highlighted that the basis of the bilateral relationship is Australia and Lithuania’s shared values of democracy, human rights, rule of law, and open markets, underpinned by strong people-to-people links. Central to these values, as well as security, stability and prosperity for both countries, is advancing gender equality and the rights of women and girls globally. They reiterated their commitment to greater free, fair and rules-based trade and to resist protectionism, and encouraged more bilateral trade and investment. They expressed strong support for the swift conclusion of negotiations on the Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement.
Ministers reaffirmed their steadfast support for multilateral organisations, in particular the United Nations and its specialised agencies, the World Trade Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, to overcome the health and economic impacts of COVID‑19, protect human rights and advance the rules-based system of international governance and trade. Ministers committed to promoting economic openness, enhancing resilience of supply chains, opposing economic coercion and working with other partners to uphold the rules-based international trading system. Australia has a substantial interest in the issues raised in the dispute brought by the European Union regarding discriminatory trade practices imposed on Lithuania and has requested to join these consultations.
Ministers Payne and Landsbergis shared concerns over enduring and emerging international security threats and committed to deepen bilateral cooperation in response to shared strategic challenges. They expressed particular concern over Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine and reaffirmed their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. They also called for an end to persecution of the opposition in Belarus and condemned the use of irregular migrants in vulnerable positions for political purposes by Belarus. Ministers discussed the importance of cooperating on countering disinformation and cyber and hybrid threats, and shared strong concerns about the recent malicious cyber activity perpetrated against Ukraine.
Minister Payne warmly welcomed Lithuania’s growing footprint in the Indo-Pacific region. The Ministers expressed support for an open, inclusive, and resilient Indo‑Pacific region in which the sovereign rights of all nations are respected. Ministers agreed that Australia and the EU’s respective Indo Pacific strategies, Australia’s Step-up and the launch of the European Union’s Global Gateway initiative, provided a significant opportunity for strengthening cooperation in the region.
They reaffirmed their intent to work together to preserve the rules-based international order that has underpinned global stability and prosperity, and to foster a sustainable balance in our respective regions where all countries – large and small – can pursue their interests free from coercion.