President Valdis Zatlers and First Lady Lilita Zatlere on a good neighborly visit to Lithuania.
RIGA - Latvian President Valdis Zatlers and First Lady Lilita Zatlere, arriving for a two-day state visit to Lithuania on Feb. 10, were officially welcomed at the Presidential Castle in Vilnius, reports news agency LETA. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, who led the opening ceremony, said that President Zatlers’ visit confirms that the Latvian-Lithuanian partnership is becoming stronger and is oriented toward successful bilateral cooperation.
Talk of this cooperation, in the areas of business and culture, dominated much of the trip. “Lithuania and Latvia are united by common interests in maintaining the Baltic heritage, traditions and culture, in strengthening bilateral economic relations, implementing strategic regional transport and energy projects. The further and deeper integration of the Baltic region, closer cooperation is the foundation for a successful future of the Baltic Sea region,” said Grybauskaite.
Lithuania has been a key trade partner to Latvia for a very long time; nevertheless, there still is much room for growth, said Zatlers in an address to the Latvian-Lithuanian business forum in Klaipeda the next day. “It is our task to create ever new products and services with higher added value, because the development of such products and services, and the increase in productivity they create, will determine our countries’ potential for international cooperation. This can be achieved through the cooperation between our governments, businessmen, academicians and economy experts,” stressed Zatlers.
Successful cooperation will mean a number of advantages, said Zatlers. One of the most important of such advantages will be joint use of the region’s resources, infrastructure, know-how. Cooperation between Latvian and Lithuanian regions is based on the countries’ common history and centuries-long ties between the ports of Klaipeda and Liepaja, other ports and enterprises. This cooperation, in turn, is based on common cultural development, language and brotherhood of the two nations.
The key to the growth of Latvia and Lithuania lies in the cooperation between the two countries on the Baltic level and on the Baltic-Nordic level, said Zatlers. Latvia and Lithuania must strive toward a harmonic and active Baltic-Nordic region, which is the only way to consolidate resources so the region could successfully compete in the global economic and also political environment.
“Our priorities for the bilateral relations between our countries include cooperation in the energy sector in tackling energy security and diversification matters and, second, the development of infrastructure in border regions,” stressed Zatlers.
Zatlers said he hoped that his visit would lead to yet more active cooperation between Latvian and Lithuanian businessmen. He urged participants in the Klaipeda Business Forum to find ways to cooperate and jointly develop new and innovative products. “This means not competing against each other, but making use of each other’s strong points and advantages,” stressed Zatlers.
The president was accompanied on the visit by Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Artis Pabriks, Economy Minister Artis Kampars, Interior Minister Linda Murniece, Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Raimonds Vejonis, Latvian Ambassador to Lithuania Martins Virsis, Foreign Ministry State Secretary Andris Teikmanis, Transportation Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Dana Reizniece, Liepaja Mayor Uldis Sesks, and businessmen from enterprises that represent IT, tourism, textile, design, media, packaging, transport, business consulting, legal and financial sectors.