The Lithuanian government on Thursday approved in principle the European Commission's decision to negotiate, together with the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, with Greece on financial assistance to the country under the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).
Angela Merkel, Alexis Tsipras
© AFP/Scanpix

Six ministers voted in favour of the decision and two ministers, delegated by the Labour Party, which said before the meeting that its ministers would not back the proposed Greek bailout plan, abstained from voting. Six other members of the 14-strong Cabinet were not present at the meeting.

"The government authorized me to vote in the ESM governing council tomorrow in favour of opening negotiations with the Greek side on a concrete assistance agreement and its terms and conditions. This is our agreement to begin negotiations," Finance Minister Rimantas Šadžius told reporters after the Cabinet's meeting.

Šadžius said that talks with Greece, which are to begin on Friday, would be difficult and a deal, if reached, would need fresh approval from Lithuania.

"This is our agreement to begin negotiations. These negotiations will be difficult - I have no doubt about that - and their result will again require approval from all states, including Lithuania," he said.

The minister underlined that a new Greek bailout would cost Lithuania no extra money.

"Let nobody speculate that Lithuania will have to spend extra money to rescue Greece. Lithuania will not have to pay a single euro additionally. Financial support to Greece will be provided from the ESM," he said.

Lithuania, which adopted the euro at the start of this year, in February transferred its first 65.44-million-euro tranche to the bailout fund, with a total of 327.2 million euros to be contributed over five years.

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