President Dalia Grybauskaitė, who is in Israel on an official visit, met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. The meeting - the first between the Lithuanian president and the president of Israel, who was elected last year - focused on the most relevant issues relating to regional security and bilateral cooperation. The Israeli president, who emphasizes his Litvak roots, and Dalia Grybauskaitė also discussed measures to strengthen Israel's ties with Lithuania, the presidential press service said.
President Grybauskaitė meets with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin

The presidents of Lithuania and Israel exchanged views on increased tension with Palestine, the war in Syria, the situation in eastern Ukraine, the threat of terrorism, and the refugee crisis in Europe. The Middle East peace process was also discussed. Dalia Grybauskaitė underlined that Lithuania, just like the entire international community, condemned the escalation of violence in the region and called on both parties of the conflict to do everything possible to resume a constructive dialogue between Israel and Palestine and re-launch peace talks.

"Lithuania and Israel are facing difficult challenges. Lithuania is well aware of what unrest and military threats in the region mean and how much effort it takes to ensure peaceful national development. Therefore, we must do everything we can to prevent provocations and protect peaceful populations. Aggression, coercion and violence cannot be justified," the president said.

During the meeting, a strong focus was placed on fighting new threats as cyber attacks, hostile propaganda and aggressive rhetoric are an everyday reality not only for Israel but for Lithuania, too.

Dalia Grybauskaitė and the president of Israel also discussed negotiations on Lithuania's membership in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development as well as the strengthening of bilateral economic ties. Lithuania is a perfect market for investors from Israel. Our country has well developed hi-tech services, transport, biotechnologies, research, and innovations, many qualified specialists - all of which is of interest to Israeli investors.

Views were also exchanged on the situation of the Jewish community in Lithuania and on the commemoration of the Holocaust victims in our country. According to the Lithuanian president, Jews have contributed in a significant way to building the state of Lithuania; now we can also work together as we build the future and advance the well-being of the two countries.

President Grybauskaitė in Yad Vashem
President Grybauskaitė in Yad Vashem

Earlier in the day, Dalia Grybauskaitė visited the Yad Vashem Museum and planted an olive tree in the Grove of Nations as a sign of tribute to the Holocaust victims. The grove is home to more than 700 commemorative trees planted in memory of Lithuanian citizens who saved Jews.

We all must make a joint effort to prevent such tragedies as the Holocaust from ever happening again so that we can successfully build the future of nations and live in a peaceful and tolerant world, the Lithuanian president said.

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