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Lithuanian President to visit New Zealand

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister of New Zealand

20 February 2006 Media Statement

Lithuanian President to visit New Zealand

Prime Minister Helen Clark today announced that President Valdas Adamkus of Lithuania will visit New Zealand from 28 February to 1 March.

This will be the first visit to New Zealand by a Lithuanian President.

“Both before and since Lithuania regained independence from the Soviet Union in 1990, contact between New Zealand and Lithuania has been limited. However with Lithuania's admission to the WTO in 2001 and to NATO and the EU in 2004, the relationship has entered a new phase," Helen Clark said.

“The visit of President Adamkus is a recognition of the important steps we have taken to develop our relations with new members of the European Union. Lithuania maintains strong connections with its neighbour Poland, where New Zealand opened a new embassy in Warsaw last year. Phil Goff visited Lithuania as Foreign Minister in 2004, and Lithuania's Speaker led a Parliamentary delegation to New Zealand in 1995.

"There are trade opportunities in Lithuania for New Zealand's agriculture and forestry sectors, as well as potential for greater co-operation in academic and research fields. Already there have been cultural exchanges. I welcome this historic visit," Helen Clark said.

While in New Zealand President Adamkus will meet the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister, and will be hosted at a state lunch by the Governor General.

President Adamkus will be accompanied by the Lithuanian Foreign Minister, Antanas Valionis, and a business delegation.

ENDS

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