As Belgium is closing down its embassies in the Baltic states, the country's last ambassador residing in Vilnius, Peter Lescouhier, bid farewell to Lithuanian officials on Tuesday.
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In a meeting with Lithuania's Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius, Ambassador Lescouhier said that Belgium was closing its embassies in a number of countries, including Lithuania, in line with the austerity policy. "Eighteen embassies and consulates in total are going to be closed around the world. From now on, the Embassy of Belgium in Warsaw will be accredited for Lithuania," said the ambassador.

Butkevičius, on his part, thanked the ambassador for Belgium's active engagement in NATO's air policing mission in the Baltic states. The PM has noted that despite Belgium's decision to cut the number of diplomatic representations, bilateral trade relations have been getting stronger: last year Lithuania's export to Belgium grew by 20 percent, and the Kingdom of Belgium ranked 8th in the list of importers to Lithuania.

"We are interested in further development of economic cooperation and improvement of investment opportunities in food industry, transport and logistics, biotechnologies, pharmacy, and textiles, among other fields," said Butkevięius and stressed that there was no doubt that more Belgian companies would find their business niches in Lithuania.

Ambassador Lescouhier also met with Parliamentary Speaker Loreta Graužinienė, who expressed gratitude for the ambassador's "consistent and focused diplomatic service in Lithuania and his personal input in developing political, economic and cultural relations between Lithuania and Belgium".

Lescouhier has been working in Lithuania since August 2012. Once the embassy is closed in the summer of 2015, all Belgian diplomatic and consular matters in Lithuania will be referred to the embassy in Warsaw.

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