President of the Republic of Lithuania

Stronger ties with the United Arab Emirates are beneficial for Lithuanian businesses and people

2017-07-11

Tuesday, May 11, Vilnius President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates, to discuss bilateral relations, economic cooperation, development of contacts in business, innovation and tourism, as well as the relationship between the EU and the UAE.

The meeting’s agenda included bilateral cooperation, EU-UAE relations and international security. Special focus was placed on security, the situation in Syria, fighting terrorism, and pressing regional issues.

According to the President, the United Arab Emirates is a key partner of Lithuania in the Middle East. The two countries maintain intensive bilateral relations and active cooperation at the EU level. When Lithuania presided over the European Union, the UAE was granted visa-free access to the Schengen area. Our country stands for resuming free trade negotiations between the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

According to the President, the agreement is particularly relevant for Lithuanian businesses and people who are discovering more and more opportunities in the United Arab Emirates. A large number of Lithuanians work at transnational or local companies in the Emirates.

The UAE is among the ten richest nations in the world. It is a global hub for transport, tourism and trade, as well as a priority market for Lithuanian exports. Lithuania’s economic relations with the UAE are gaining a sharp momentum: bilateral trade has grown fourfold over the last five years. Lithuanian food, furniture and technological companies successfully export their products to the Emirates. Lithuania also sees a huge potential for cooperation in the fields of information and financial technologies, renewable energy with emphasis on solar cells, health care, and life sciences.

The two countries are currently negotiating a bilateral agreement on promoting and protecting investments as well as the possibility of opening direct flights from Vilnius to the Emirates in order to advance business contacts, investment and tourism.

The Lithuanian community in the United Arab Emirates is the largest and most active in the region. Working and living conditions as well as tourist travels will be further facilitated by a bilateral agreement on the recognition of driver's licenses to be signed today in Vilnius.

As regards security cooperation, the President underlined that Lithuania highly appreciated the UAE’s role in fighting terrorism, maintaining regional stability and providing humanitarian aid to refugees.

Dalia Grybauskaitė pointed out that the conflict in Syria and the terrorist organization ISIS operating in the region posed a threat to both European and global security and produced massive refugee flows to the European Union. The efforts of the UAE and other Gulf countries were greatly important for resolving the conflict and overcoming destabilizing factors.

The United Arab Emirates is member of the US-led antiterrorist coalition; it has conducted air raids against ISIS.

The UAE is a close partner of NATO, contributing to international missions and engaged in an Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme.

Press Service of the President

Last updated 2017.07.11 13:35

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