President Dalia Grybauskaitė met Tuesday with leaders of the American Jewish Committee–one of the largest and most influential NGOs in the United States which has always supported the freedom of Lithuania.
During the meeting, AJC leaders gave the president a copy of a letter written to then-president George Bush in 1991, calling for not delaying recognition of independent Lithuania and the other Baltic countries. This organization also supported Lithuania’s aspiration to become a NATO member.
Today the American Jewish Committee focuses on energy security and contributes to forming U.S. energy policies. Therefore the meeting discussed Lithuania’s experience in securing energy independence and key challenges to European energy. The President stressed that exports of U.S. energy resources to Europe were important to ensure competition in the EU market, reduce Gazprom’s influence on European countries and prevent Russian energy blackmail.
Lithuania’s relations with the United States and Israel were also touched upon. According to Dalia Grybauskaitė, the United States is Lithuania’s reliable partner which contributes in a significant way to our national security. Lithuania actively supports efforts to conclude as soon as possible negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and the United States, which would promote investment and trade as well as further strengthen trans-Atlantic relations.
The President also emphasized that Israel was the most important partner of Lithuania in the Middle East region. The deepening relations between Lithuania and Israel are opening up more opportunities for business and bilateral cooperation in innovation, research, tourism, cyber security, and energy. In 2014, trade turnover between Lithuania and Israel amounted to 44 million euros, and it has doubled over the past five years. Last October, the President paid an official visit to Israel.
Dalia Grybauskaitė and the leaders of the American Jewish Committee also exchanged views on cooperation in preserving Jewish heritage in Lithuania. In 2011, Lithuania adopted the Law on Good Will Compensation and established the Foundation for Disposal of Good Will Compensation for the Immovable Property of Jewish Religious Communities. Engaged in its activities are not only Lithuanian Jewish communities but also representatives from the American Jewish Committee.
Lithuania actively cooperates with international Jewish organizations to preserve Jewish cemeteries and renovate extant synagogues and other heritage.
From the Lithuanian Presidential Press Service.