VILNIUS - On April 30 at a meeting with Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov in Vilnius, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Azubalis called on Macedonia to continue the on-going reforms, which would bring the country closer to EU membership, and settle the issues that could open the door to NATO, said the Lithuania MFA, reports ELTA.
“Macedonia’s NATO membership will complete the Vilnius Ten process that was initiated by Lithuania 12 years ago,” the minister said.
When discussing Macedonia’s integration into the EU, Azubalis noted that he was well aware that due to the prolonged processes of the EU enlargement, it was not easy to maintain strong public support.
“However, Macedonian society demonstrates high levels of civil awareness and supports the country’s EU membership,” the minister said.
The Macedonian president spoke about intensified cooperation and mutual support in international forums. Ivanov thanked Lithuania for recognizing Macedonia exactly 20 years ago, when this country was still not a member of the United Nations, and requested Lithuania’s comprehensive support for the country’s last steps towards NATO and EU membership.
The meeting emphasized active bilateral economic relations, growing levels of trade, the agreement on the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion that came into force, as well as intentions to sign the protocol on cooperation in the field of agriculture and related sectors at the fair AgroBalt in Kaunas this year.
“Political cooperation between our countries has always been active. However, today we are particularly enjoying the intensifying economic and cultural ties. Even the athletes of our two countries have established closer contacts,” the foreign minister noted.
The program of the two-day working visit of the Macedonian president in Lithuania included meetings with President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite, Speaker of the Seimas (Parliament) Irena Degutiene and members of the Committee on European Affairs.
The agreement between the government of Lithuania and the government of Macedonia on intensified cooperation in the field of culture is to be signed at the Office of the President on May 1.