Lithuania blocked the beginning of talks on a strategic deal between the European Union and Russia on Tuesday because of ongoing disputes with Moscow, diplomats said, according to the dpa .
Despite intensive talks between the foreign ministers of the EU's 27 member states in Luxembourg, Lithuania refused to approve a mandate under which the European Commission would begin talks on a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Russia, Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn told journalists.
The ministers are now set to return to the issue in May, Asselborn said.
Ahead of the meeting, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas said that his country had four main objections to launching talks, and that the mandate presented by the Slovenian government, which currently holds the EU rotating presidency, "is not satisfactory at the moment."
Those objections dealt with Russia's shut-off of the pipeline supplying Lithuania's only oil refinery, its attitude towards judicial and international cooperation, and its behaviour towards the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.