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Lithuania condemns any use of chemical weapons

On 7-10 July, the Permanent Representative of Lithuania to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Vidmantas Purlys attends the 94th session of the Executive Council of the OPCW in The Hague. The most important item on the Council’s agenda – the first report of 8 April by the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team (IIT), which concluded that units of the Syrian Arab Air Force had used chemical weapons in Syria in March 2017.

The Ambassador emphasized Lithuania’s support for the investigation of the use of chemical weapons in Syria and its findings. V. Purlys recalled that Lithuania strongly condemned any use of chemical weapons and, therefore, believed that those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable.

The Ambassador V. Purlys also drew the Council‘s attention to the problem of chemical weapons dumped at sea, which required consistent cooperation among international organizations, governments, science, industry, and non-governmental organizations. He also underlined that the OPCW had the necessary expertise and technological infrastructure to ensure such cooperation.

On 12 May 2020, Lithuania was elected for the first time ever as a member state to the Executive Council for the 2020-2022 period.

The OPCW, with its 193 member states, was established in 1997. The organization oversees the global endeavor to eliminate chemical weapons.

Masks no longer mandatory in Lithuanian stores, but distance, hygiene requirements remain

VILNIUS - Facemasks will no longer be mandatory in Lithuanian retail stores and places of public events starting on Wednesday, but physical distance and hygiene requirements remain in place, according to a decree signed by Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga on Tuesday. 

Services providers, retailers, and leisure and entertainment venues will have to ensure that at least 1-meter distances are maintained between people, to provide hand sanitizer for customers to use, and to regularly disinfect and air premises. 

People displaying symptoms, such as cough, sneezing and difficulty breathing, will not be allowed in such places.

Wearing facemasks will no longer be mandatory for either visitors or the staff, but still recommended. 

The Health Ministry confirmed to BNS that the same requirements will apply in public transport. 

Lithuania is on Wednesday lifting the nationwide quarantine put in place on March 16 in a bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus, but is extending a state of emergency declared in late February.  

Lithuanian govt backs e-voting, suggests testing it abroad

VILNIUS – The Lithuanian government has backed the legalization of e-voting but suggeststesting the new procedure, first of all, during a vote abroad in the special constituency for Lithuanian living abroad.

On Monday, the Cabinet backed the amendments under consideration by the Seimas, which would allow voting online during the upcoming general election.

The bill was initiated by the ruling Social Democratic Labor Party of Lithuania, motivating the need to introduce alternative voting option amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Upon receipt of the government's conclusion, the bill will be further deliberated by the Seimas.

Justice Minister Elvinas Jankevicius says e-voting cannot be introduced for the upcoming general election in October and suggests that lawmakers should consider introducing such a voting option for municipal, presidential EP elections and referenda.

„E-voting should be safe and trustworthy so than nobody has doubt over election results. Therefore, it is important to consult cyber security experts while creating and introducing such a system, and test and trial this method. With less than three months until an election, it’s impossible to create and test such a system," Jankevicius said.

The Justice Ministry also said in a statement that the procurement of an information system, creation and testing procedures could take from 18 to 24 months.

Under the bill under consideration by the Seimas, e-voting would be allowed to take place three days from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. Moreover, a person could change their mind and come to vote to a polling station.

Finally, people would be able to vote online several times as the last vote would count.

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis and Ramunas Karbauskis, leader of the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, the SDLP's coalition partner, have said earlier e-voting would be impossible during the upcoming election.

President Gitanas Nauseda has also suggested introducing e-voting for Lithuanian living abroad. He expressed such an idea during his State of the Nation Address last week.

Lithuanian will hold a general election on October 11.

Those in favor of e-voting say it would boost voter turnout. Those against it say, however, it's impossible to increase the secrecy and safety of voting.

  • 2020-06-22
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