For years now Belarus has been a key economic partner for Lithuania and Latvia. These two Baltic states have well-developed port infrastructure and thus provide what are the geographically closest and also the cheapest exit to international outlets for Belarusia’s petrochemical and chemical industries, both of which are export-oriented.
Although successive Lithuanian authorities have expressed negative opinions about Lukashenko's regime and supported the opposition in Belarus for years, they have on the other hand criticised the EU's policy of imposing restrictions on Belarus and keeping Minsk in isolation. Vilnius tried to develop contacts with Belarus, but it was the lifting of EU sanctions in 2008 and Lukashenko's interest in opening up to the West that allowed the Lithuanian govenrment to intensify these relations.
The Lithuanian-Belarusian intergovernmental working group developed on 7 October an agreement for the transit of Venezuelan oil to Belarus via the Lithuanian state-owned oil terminal Klaipedos nafta. This is the first effect of the co-operation as part of the bilateral group for economic co-operation in the energy sector appointed this June by the prime ministers of Lithuania and Belarus.