President Pahor on official visit to the Republic of Lithuania
Vilnius, Republic of Lithuania , 12. 6. 2017 | press release
The Slovenian President Borut Pahor today visited the Republic of Lithuania, where he was received by the Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė. This is an official return visit following the invitation of the President of Lithuania, who was on an official visit to Slovenia last year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Lithuania was the second country to recognise Slovenia as an independent and sovereign state.
After an official reception with military honours, President Pahor signed the visitors' book. Mr Pahor and Ms Grybauskaitė then held a private meeting, which was followed by plenary discussions, led by both presidents, between their respective delegations. Mr Pahor began by saying that an official visit was an opportunity to strengthen bilateral relations, but also the political and economic ties between the countries. He emphasised that the relationship was strong and that there were no open bilateral issues.
The President also pointed out that Lithuania was Slovenia’s most important trading partner among the Baltic countries, and that there was still room to expand economic cooperation. He saw opportunities to enhance cooperation, in particular, in the tourism, environmental technology, ICT and digitalisation, infrastructure, construction, food and biotechnology industries.
At the press conference President Pahor stated that his official visit to Lithuania was to be regarded as an effort made on the part of the Slovenian authorities and people to establish strong, allied and friendly relations with Lithuania and its people. Slovenia’s decision to send a contingent of Slovenian troops to join the NATO battalion in neighbouring Latvia, where they will help bring stability and raise awareness of NATO’s members’ shared commitment to peace in this sensitive area of the EU, should also be construed in this light. At the same time, President Pahor also thanked Lithuania for sending a contingent of Lithuanian police officers to Slovenia during the migrant crisis in February last year.
The two leaders also discussed economic cooperation between their respective countries, which, in the words of President Pahor, is the most intensive of all the Baltic countries and will soon reach EUR 100 million. “Although not a huge amount, it bodes well for the future,” the Slovenian President underlined. The President of Lithuania also noted that Lithuania and Slovenia continually coordinate their actions in relation to important issues in the EU. She also expressed the opinion that smaller and medium-sized EU Member States should work together. “We support each other in various aspects, and have developed good and friendly relations between us,” she added.
President Pahor also referred to the strong ties between the two countries in the fields of culture, science and other areas. The two exchanged views on cooperation with Russia: Slovenia and Lithuania (in fact, all three Baltic countries) have very different historical experiences with Russia. In the Slovenian President's view, Slovenia, as an ally and friend to the Baltic countries, must understand its friends, as they have different experiences with this huge eastern neighbour, and listen to the concerns of these countries about their safety, sovereignty and all other matters related to the country’s independence. The two leaders agreed that a dialogue with Russia was, in any case, necessary and useful.
As part of the official visit programme, President Pahor laid a wreath at the Antakalnis Cemetery in Vilnius to commemorate those who had fallen during Lithuania’s struggle for independence. This was followed by a lunch hosted by the Prime Minister of Lithuania Saulius Skvernelis in honour of the Slovenian President. The two leaders mainly discussed economic cooperation and exchanged views on the current situation in both countries. President Pahor also met the Speaker of the Seimas (the Parliament) of the Republic of Lithuania Viktoras Pranckietis, before signing the visitors' book and then attending the January 13 Memorial, which is on display in the Seimas building.
President Pahor will conclude the first day of his official visit with a formal dinner hosted by the Lithuanian President.
President Pahor will conclude his official visit tomorrow, when he will be joined by the Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė on a visit to the National Cyber Security Centre.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA