Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius on Wednesday had a telephone conversation with Germany's new Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel to discuss bilateral relations and European challenges, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said.
Linas Linkevičius
© DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

"We highly appreciate our friendship with Germany and its solidarity, providing us with security guarantees. We thank the German troops for their leadership in forming a NATO battalion group in Lithuania," Linkevičius said in a press release.

Around 70 German troops arrived in Lithuania on Wednesday for their deployment in the country as part of NATO's multinational battalion, with a total of approximately 450 German troops with tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other equipment expected to come by the end of February. The German-led battalion, which is expected to reach its full operational capability by mid-June, will consist of over 1,000 troops from several NATO member states.

According to the press release, the foreign ministers also discussed future challenges for the European agenda, stressing the importance of European unity in the face of upcoming elections in EU member states and in the context of the new US administration's relations with the EU, NATO and Russia.

"Intensive work is ahead of us, but we agree that the relationship between the countries must be based on values and principles," Linkevičius said.

The German minister promised to visit Lithuania in the near future, the ministry said.

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