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National News

1 April 2020

Belarus urges Lithuania to stay calm, cooperate in combating coronavirus

Belarus is calling on Lithuania to regain composure and to engage in efficient cooperation in fighting the spread of coronavirus, reads a statement released by Anatoly Glaz, Head of the Information and Digital Diplomacy Office, Press Secretary of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The statement is available on the ministry's website, BelTA has learned.

Anatoly Glaz commented on Lithuania's proposal to restrict air travel between the countries and on Lithuania's mistrust of information about coronavirus containment efforts in Belarus.

“In this situation I would like to cite one famous cartoon that comes to mind: ‘Those who help people are wasting their time, you cannot get anywhere by doing good things…' The same here. After all, since 16 March this year Belarus has offered one of the few opportunities for Lithuanian nationals to return home. Thanks to Belavia flights around 500 Lithuanian citizens have come back home and without having to obtain visas. Where would they have been now if not for this opportunity? In fact, the flight is meant for this purpose by 80%. Some 20 Lithuanians will take advantage of this opportunity even today,” Anatoly Glaz said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized that Belarus is always ready to lend a helping hand to the neighbor. “The phone conversation between the foreign ministers of our countries was held in this spirit on 20 March. Today when the world faces such a powerful challenge, solidarity and joint efforts have never been more important. Therefore, it is absolutely unclear what ‘lack of trust' the president and the foreign minister of Lithuania talked about. Any statements of this kind should be based on evidence and reliable information, not on speculations and rumors. Therefore, we would appreciate if the Lithuanian side provided us with precise information about alleged ‘certain case clusters in the Belarusian territory and recorded deaths'. Of course, if they indeed have such evidence,” the spokesman said.

In his words, the same pertains to the assessment of performance of the Belarusian healthcare system. “It is appropriate when such assessments are made by professionals. However, in this case we heard traditional attempts of our neighbors to supplant international organizations. Multiple conclusions of World Health Organization specialists, including with regard to the measures Belarus is taking, are not a secret. If needed, we are ready to familiarize the Lithuanian side with them once again. The control over the situation, self-possession and the further efforts to contain the pandemic, including through effective international cooperation – this is what all of us really need today. We call on our Lithuanian partners to follow these principles above all,” the representative of the foreign ministry noted.