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State visit by President Dalia Grybauskaitė to the Kingdom of Norway, 5-6 April

President Dalia Grybauskaitė paid a two-day state visit to Norway.

 

On the first day of the visit, the President was officially welcomed at the Royal Palace, where she met with King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway, Crown Prince Haakon and his wife Crown Princess Mette-Marit, and Princess Astrid.

 

Having underlined that this year Lithuania and Norway were celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, the President thanked Norway and its people for their support extended to our state at a very important moment in its history - restoration of independence.

 

According to public protocol requirements, the Lithuanian and Norwegian leaders exchanged the highest state decorations as a token of recognition of each other's personal contribution to the development of bilateral relations and their active involvement in the promotion of cooperation between the two nations.

 

After the meeting with the Royal Family, the President gave a lecture ‘Geopolitics of Energy: the Reasons and the Gains of Nordic-Baltic Cooperation' in the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, dealing with geopolitical aspects of energy-related problems in Europe and underlining the need and mutual benefit of promoting active cooperation with Norway and other Nordic countries. The President also answered questions put by the students, the professoriate and guest experts.

 

"By this first state visit to Norway I wanted to underline and draw attention to the fact that the Northern dimension is one of Lithuania's foreign policy priorities and that our relations with Northern Europe are acquiring a shape of a very concrete and productive dialogue. Lithuanian-Norwegian relations are a perfect example of cooperation based on interests of the two peoples. Norway's political and financial support to Lithuania is very valuable and we have very good prospects of cooperation in the field of energy," President Dalia Grybauskaitė said.

 

After the visit at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, the President, together with the King of Norway, laid a wreath at the National Monument in the Akershus Fortress, and had a meeting with the President of the Storting and Norway's Prime Minister.

 

Discussion in the meeting with Norway's Prime Minister focused on Lithuanian-Norwegian bilateral relations, cooperation in the field of foreign policy and security as well as economy and energy, and elimination of Baltic energy isolation.

"Lithuania is actively engaged in setting up Baltic electricity market with the aim of integrating into the Northern European power exchange system, NordPool. Projects aimed at building electricity connections with Northern Europe are being successfully implemented. Lithuania is strongly committed to constructing a liquefied gas terminal. All this opens up very good prospects for cooperation with Norway, especially in the energy sector, including the possibility to buy Norwegian gas in the future," President Dalia Grybauskaitė said.

According to the President, the Norwegian Prime Minister has assured her that his country supports Lithuania's and other Baltic countries' aspiration to escape from energy isolation as soon as possible and is willing to work actively together towards these aspirations.

After the meeting, delegations led by the President of Lithuania and the Prime Minister of Norway represented by ministers signed memorandums of understanding concerning the implementation of the Norwegian and the European Economic Area (EEA) Financial Mechanisms 2009-2014 providing for support in the amount of 84 million euros to Lithuanian projects, and a bilateral agreement concerning the transfer of sentenced offenders to serve sentence in their home country, which, according to the President, would help both countries to fight against crime.

 

The President also visited Norway's Storting (Parliament) and had a meeting with its President Per Kristian to discuss bilateral relations and the Storting's role and support for Lithuania's restored independence.

 

On the second day of the visit, President Dalia Grybauskaitė accompanied by King Harald V of Norway visited the Fiskerstrand Shipyard in Ålesund.

 

"This first state visit to Norway has revealed plenty of perfect but unused opportunities for cooperation with the Nordic countries, both in politics and in developing concrete business projects. Joint projects between shipbuilders of Ålesund and Klaipėda in constructing the most advanced ferryboats and between textile producers of the Sula Municipality and Panevėžys are just a few examples of successful economic cooperation. Norway's Prime Minister, other highest politicians of the country as well as businesspeople whom I met confirmed Norway's strong intentions to develop cooperation with Lithuania," President Dalia Grybauskaitė said.

 

Over-100-years-old Fiskerstrand Shipyard focuses on innovations, ship architecture, construction, repairs and testing. This Norwegian company has been cooperating with Klaipėda's Western Shipyard for 11 years already. The Lithuanian and Norwegian partners are currently carrying out a 90-million-euros-worth project of constructing sea-going ice-resistant ferryboats. Moreover, last year the Fiskerstrand Shipyard contracted the Western Shipyard of Klaipėda to build the world's largest gas-powered ferryboat using advanced technologies.

 

The President of Lithuania and the King of Norway accompanied by Ålesund's Mayor Bjorn Tommerdal viewed the unique old-town of Ålesund, featuring the Art Nouveau architectural style.

 

At the official lunch hosted by the President of Lithuania, the President thanked the King of Norway and all Norwegian people for the warm welcome and the exceptional respect demonstrated to our state.

Press Service of the President

  

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