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Lithuania's traditional policy aimed at good-neighborly relations with Russia
Lithuania's traditional policy aimed at good-neighborly relations with Russia has not changed and energy-related issues should not harm them, the Lithuanian president said Sunday.

"We want good, proper relations with our eastern neighbors. The fact that energy issues create tensions is not a secret. I say it publicly and think it should in no way harm Lithuanian-Russian relations," Valdas Adamkus said.

Adamkus said economic sanctions should not be used to exert political pressure, adding that all EU members are of the same opinion about this.

Moscow's reliability as Europe's main energy supplier came under question in early January when a dispute between Russia and neighboring Belarus led to a three-day interruption of oil deliveries to Poland, Germany and other European consumers.

Minsk had imposed a transit fee on Europe-bound crude exports in retaliation for a hike in the natural gas price Moscow charged Belarus. Moscow accused Minsk of illegally tapping the transit pipeline, and shut down oil deliveries until an agreement was reached through emergency negotiations.

The dispute recalled a natural gas spat with Ukraine early in 2006, when Russia briefly suspended gas supplies, affecting consumers in Europe after Ukraine started siphoning Russian gas transited through its territory and intended for European countries.

Lithuania, as well as eight other countries, joined the European Union December 21.


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