International security situation and recent outbreaks of violence in Israel were the main topic of the meeting of Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday.
Dalia Grybauskaitė, Mahmoud Abbas
© Sipa Press/Scanpix

The Lithuanian president stressed that it was vital to stop the escalation of violence and return to negotiations. Lithuania supports intensive political dialogue between Israel and Palestine.

During their meeting, the officials also discussed the economic cooperation of Lithuania and Israel. According to Grybauskaitė, strengthening economic relations with Israel will positively influence Lithuania's competitiveness and new investments will create more jobs for people of Lithuania.

"We must take advantage of the currently favourable situation when interest in cooperation is mutual," she said in the meeting with Netanyahu.

Earlier on Tuesday, Grybauskaitė, who is the first Lithuanian president to visit Palestine, met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The meeting focused on discussing the security situation in the Middle East, the Lithuanian presidential press service said.

Lithuania, just like the whole international community, calls on both parties to take immediate action to prevent provocations and violence and search for new ways to restart peace talks.

According to the president, the international community must also engage in the Middle East peace process. As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Lithuania stands ready to help Palestine and Israel to resume political dialogue and constructive talks as this is the only way to achieve lasting peace and stability in the region as well as ensure a secure life for the people.

"To be indifferent to violence and aggression means to justify them. We are all responsible for peace in the world and for the security of our people," the president said.

According to President Grybauskaitė, Lithuania delivers humanitarian aid to Palestine through UN agencies and special EU programs. Lithuania contributes most to the treatment of children and adolescents and to improving the situation of women. According to Grybauskaitė, Lithuania is ready to continue lending humanitarian assistance to Palestine.

Among the other issues discussed at the meeting was bilateral cooperation. The president noted that Lithuania was open to opportunities to develop bilateral dialogue with Palestine.

Ties with Palestine are developed through various cultural events, journalist exchange programs and pilgrimage tourism. Lithuania is also interested in student exchange. Palestinian students may already, through the Erasmus+ program, choose courses to study at Lithuanian higher schools. A cooperation agreement between Vilnius University and Bethlehem University should be signed by the end of this year.

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