President Dalia Grybauskaitė is making an official visit to Israel on 19-21 October. She will be accompanied by the ministers of foreign affairs and economy as well as by Chair of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, Faina Kukliansky, the presidential press service said.
President Grybauskaitė meets with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin

According to the president, at the present moment, relations between Lithuania and Israel are open and respectful - the best ever in history; therefore, both bilateral dialogue and collaboration in international organisations may gain new momentum.

In Jerusalem, Dalia Grybauskaitė will meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. A meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also planned.

Peace is the most important prerequisite for the successful development of both countries, the president said, however, an aggressive, unstable and unpredictable neighbourhood, tension and regional conflicts have recently been an everyday reality for both Lithuania and Israel. Therefore, at the meetings with Israeli leadership, a major focus will be placed on discussing the geopolitical and security situation, views will be exchanged on the situation in Ukraine and Syria, the refugee crisis, the fight against terrorism and ISIS, the peace process in the Middle East, the United Nation's (UN) role in securing peace in the world, and Israel-EU relationship.

The heads of state will also discuss the strengthening of bilateral relations, in particular in business, innovations, cyber security, and energy. Lithuania is interested in Israel's unique experience in cyber security, especially in the public sector and in training national security IT professionals in the conscript army. Israel is at the centre of global cyber security innovation and ranks second, behind the United States, in the sale of cyber defence solutions.

The president and the representatives of the Israeli government will exchange views on strengthening cooperation in energy. Lithuania is interested in the possibilities to import gas from Israel to the Klaipėda LNG terminal as soon as conditions allow. Israel and Lithuania could also collaborate in renewable energy technologies.

President Grybauskaitė meets with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin
President Grybauskaitė meets with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin

In Tel Aviv - the Israeli business capital - the president will open the Global Lithuanian Economic Forum, for the first time held in Israel, which will be attended by over 100 Israeli and Lithuanian business representatives, ministers of economy and foreign affairs, mayors of municipalities, Litvaks, and expatriate Lithuanians. According to the president, the delegation of state officials and business people will introduce our national advantages and establish the necessary contacts in Israel. Direct diplomatic and economic ties with Israel will benefit all the people of Lithuania.

Dalia Grybauskaitė will also meet with top managers of Israel's largest business companies and introduce them to Lithuania's economic and business environment as well as investment opportunities. Israel is the world leader in science and technologies, software, biotechnologies, medicine and cyber security, agriculture, and life sciences. Therefore, bilateral cooperation in launching innovative startups can contribute in a significant way to increasing Lithuania's competitiveness.

President Grybauskaitė in Yad Vashem
President Grybauskaitė in Yad Vashem

The president will also open the Global Litvak Forum in Tel Aviv. According to Dalia Grybauskaitė, Litvaks - Jews with roots in Lithuania or their descendants - are Lithuania's best public diplomacy ambassadors across the world. It is a special community of very responsible and educated Jews, promoting and introducing Lithuania in the world. Many Litvaks belong to the political, business, legal, and arts elite, help Lithuania to establish ties with other countries, and play an active role in attracting investment to our country. Israel is home to about 200 thousand Litvaks, including famous statesmen.

The president will also visit Palestine where she will meet with President Mahmoud Abass to discuss international contribution to the peace process and the importance of assistance to the regions hit by unrest. Views will also be exchanged on prospects for strengthening bilateral cooperation. Lithuanian NGOs send humanitarian aid to Palestinian children, people with disabilities and women.

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