Kerry joins foreign ministers in Vilnius

  • 2013-09-08
  • From wire reports

VILNIUS - On Sept. 7 in Vilnius, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. During the bilateral meeting, heads of Lithuanian and U.S. diplomacy discussed the situation in Syria, the EU-U.S. free trade agreement, the situation of democracy in the Eastern neighborhood countries, and items on the Lithuanian EU Presidency’s agenda, reports ELTA.

Linkevicius welcomed the strategic partnership with the U.S. and successful cooperation in the areas of security, trade, and democracy promotion. “I am pleased to welcome you to Vilnius. Your visit to Lithuania as the country that holds the Presidency of the EU Council, as well as consultations with European counterparts, show that our transatlantic ties remain strong. The recent meeting of Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite and other heads of the Baltic States with [President] Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., has brought our countries even closer together, while the joint statement issued after the meeting has provided guidelines to further strengthen the Lithuania-U.S. strategic partnership,” Linkevicius said.

Speaking about the EU’s Eastern Partnership program, the foreign minister stressed the need to work together to strengthen cooperation with Eastern neighbors and thanked for the strong support to the Eastern partnership countries. “We believe that further EU and Euro-Atlantic integration is an important condition to ensure stability and economic welfare at home and in the Eastern partnership countries,” Linkevicius said.

During the meeting, Linkevicius and Kerry also stressed the significance of transatlantic trade and partnership. The sides agreed that the signing of the free trade agreement between the EU and the U.S. would be a very important achievement, which would strengthen economies and create millions of new jobs.

Secretary of State Kerry and Minister of Foreign Affairs Linkevicius continued to stress the importance of cooperation. At the Ministry, Kerry stated that Lithuanian-U.S. cooperation is based on goodwill. Kerry called Lithuanian history extraordinary, while naming democratic and economic reforms during the early independence as solid.
Kerry thanked Lithuania for cooperation in energy, cyber, and climate change areas. The secretary of state also noted the Lithuanian mission in Afghanistan. He said that Lithuania was the smallest country to lead a Provincial Reconstruction Team.

The secretary of state participated in the informal meeting of foreign ministers of the European Union states and met with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite.

After the meetings in Vilnius Kerry left for France, where, according to the press, he will be negotiating with French officials. Kerry will then meet with the leaders of the Arab League to discuss Syrian issues and the Israel-Palestinian peace process.

On Sept. 8 Kerry travels to London to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.