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Lithuania officially opens its Embassy in United Arab Emirates

On 8 March, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius visited Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, met with Ministers and officially opened the Lithuanian Embassy in the UAE.

In Abu Dhabi, L. Linkevičius met with his counterpart, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The meeting focused on issues related to regional security, counter-terrorism, and the situation in the Middle East. The Foreign Ministers also discussed future prospects for the development of bilateral relations, strengthening economic and cultural cooperation, Lithuania’s participation in the Expo 2020 Dubai, and cooperation within international organizations. The interlocutors also highlighted the importance of strengthening economic relations between Lithuania and the UAE, tapping into the potential of the partnership in the fields of investment, science and education, innovation, transport, tourism, etc.

Lithuania’s Foreign Minister together with Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, Minister of State in the United Arab Emirates Government charged with Public and Cultural Diplomacy, officially opened the Embassy of Lithuania in the UAE.

“The opening of the embassy is an important step towards the development of relations between Lithuania and the United Arab Emirates that marks a new stage in the relationship. We have just taken our agricultural products to the UAE market. However, the UAE is interested not only in traditional businesses, but also in our start-ups, renewable energy and other technology. I believe that the UAE will be the gateway to other markets in the Middle East and North Africa. There is no doubt that the activities of the embassy will significantly contribute to the excellent relationship between Lithuania and the UAE, not only in the economic but also in other fields", said L. Linkevičius, who welcomed the visitors of the solemn event.

Members of the UAE government, entrepreneurs, representatives of foreign missions, public figures, and members of the Lithuanian community attended the opening ceremony.

On 1 September, the Ambassador of Lithuania to the United Arab Emirates Edminas Bagdonas presented his letters of credence to the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. E. Bagdonas is the first Ambassador of Lithuania, who resides in the UAE.

Lithuania and the UAE established their diplomatic relations on 16 October 1992.

The President: we need more time to agree on the EU budget

After the European Council meeting the EU leaders agreed to continue the debate on the multiannual financial framework 2021-2027. According to President Gitanas Nausėda, the negotiations in various bilateral and multilateral formats were lengthy and intense.

On the night of February 21, Charles Michel, President of the European Council, met with all the representatives of the member states to hear their positions and arguments. President Gitanas Nausėda thanked the President of the Council for his efforts to align the interests of the member states and reiterated Lithuania’s firm position on the need to increase funding for cohesion policy and agriculture, the Kaliningrad transit scheme and decommissioning of Ignalina NPP. The President was also in favor of dropping the corrections to the EU budget.

Before the plenary sitting of the Council, the President met with Friends of Cohesion Group made of 17 national leaders. “Solidarity among the member states is a crucial factor to achieve common goals in the negotiations,” said the President.

The President also met with heads of government of net contributors to the EU budget to discuss the compromise on both the size of the EU budget and individual budget lines.

The next Council meeting is scheduled in March.

Geneva, L. Linkevičius presents Lithuania’s priorities, seeking membership of the Human Rights Council

On 24 February, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius delivered a speech at the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Lithuania’s Foreign Minister quoted the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Andrei Sakharov, stressing the indivisibility of human rights, peace and progress, and the need to protect human rights by learning from past mistakes. L. Linkevičius also mentioned such worrying trends as the shrinking space for democracy and civil society, and the more frequent questioning of the multilateralism, based on the rule of law.

The Foreign Minister highlighted the challenges and threats facing journalists and human rights defenders, the human rights violations by Russia in the occupied territories of Ukraine and Georgia. In addition, L. Linkevičius stressed the need to promote respect for international law and the rule of law as the necessary elements conducive to ensuring respect for human rights. In view of the pressure exerted by Russia on judges and prosecutors who investigate the case of January 13, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister called for respect of judges and prosecutors of other states, as well as for their impartiality and freedom to act without facing any pressure from third parties.

As regards the important role of civil society in protecting human rights, the Foreign Minister presented the International Sakharov Hearings to be held in May 2020 after a 35-year break. The last Hearings took place in London. The revived Sakharov Hearings will focus on contemporary human rights issues, including the need to ensure the protection of human rights in the digital environment, climate change and gender equality.

At the Human Rights Council, the Foreign Minister presented Lithuania’s candidacy for the 2021 UN Human Rights Council. According to L. Linkevičius, having been elected as member of the Executive Board of the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and to the Executive Board of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), Lithuania is determined to contribute to the strengthening of the multilateral human rights body and to the improvement of the global situation of human rights.

Lithuania has an observer status in the Human Rights Council and has submitted its candidacy for the membership of the Council for the period of 2022-2024.

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