Solvita Āboltiņa meets with Lithuanian Speaker


On Thursday, 28 November, Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, met with Loreta Graužinienė, Speaker of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, who visited the Saeima during her working visit to Latvia, where she is participating in the 32nd Session of the Baltic Assembly and the 19th Baltic Council. This is the first visit of the Speaker of the Seimas to Latvia and to the Saeima.

 Speaker Āboltiņa thanked Graužinienė for condolences expressed to the Latvian people on behalf of the Seimas of Lithuania regarding last week’s tragedy in Riga. When discussing the tragedy, Āboltiņa noted that Latvia is still mourning, and it is important for all whose actions or inaction led to death of 54 people and injuries of dozens more to take responsibility.

Solvita Āboltiņa also said that statements about the tragedy expressed by Gintaras Jašinskas, Chairman of the Board of „Maxima Latvija”, have deeply hurt the feelings of Latvian people; therefore, Āboltiņa called on the Speaker of the Seimas to condemn such statements and not allow them to impair the good relations between the two countries and their people.

Loreta Graužinienė once again expressed her deepest condolences to the people of Latvia, as well as her regret for the statements of Jašinskas, which, as she emphasised, do not reflect the opinion of the people and state of Lithuania.

When discussing the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Āboltiņa congratulated the Speaker of the Seimas on the successful course of the Presidency, stressing that Lithuania, as the first Baltic state to hold the Presidency, will serve as a source of inspiration for Latvia in its preparation for the upcoming presidency in 2015. “Latvia supports the priorities of the Lithuanian Presidency aimed at creating a reliable, growing and open Europe. Latvia also highly values the achievements of the Lithuanian Presidency, especially the conclusion of the so-called “trialogue discussions” on the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2014-2020,” emphasised the Speaker of the Saeima.

Solvita Āboltiņa acknowledged that the Presidency of the Council of the European Union is both a great challenge and an opportunity, noting that Latvia has already started to prepare for its first Presidency in the first half of 2015. “Like Lithuania, we are committed to carrying out Latvia’s duties in the most exemplary way; therefore, we highly appreciate Lithuania’s sharing its experience with us,” Āboltiņa said to Speaker Graužinienė.

As the two officials discussed the Vilnius Summit that began earlier today, the Speaker of the Saeima pointed out the importance of the Eastern Partnership and affirmed that Latvia is committed to providing all the necessary support and sharing experience with partner countries. “The Eastern Partnership is a success. The commitment of the partner countries has brought them closer to then European integration than ever before. It is also one of Latvia’s foreign policy priorities,” said Āboltiņa to her Lithuanian counterpart, noting that Latvia plans to hold several important meetings during its presidency, including the Eastern Partnership Summit.

Speaker Āboltiņa emphasised the importance of the Vilnius Summit in making substantial progress as the Association Agreements with Moldova and Georgia will be initialled, and steps will be taken in facilitating the visa regime with Azerbaijan. However, now the main focus should be on the post-Vilnius and pre-Riga period in order to proceed with the signing of the Association agreements with these partner countries at the earliest convenience, acknowledged Solvita Āboltiņa.

When discussing bilateral relations, the Speaker of the Saeima stated that Latvia and Lithuania are linked by close ties because the two countries jointly fought for their freedom and followed the path of development; thus, it is important to nurture common traditions, such as the Balts’ Unity Day.

On the parliamentary level, the relations of both countries are characterised by an active exchange of high-level visits, stressed both officials. This is an opportunity for the parliamentarians of both countries to regularly discuss topical matters of common interest, said the Speaker of the Saeima. As a particularly successful example, both speakers mentioned the Baltic Assembly and the groups for interparliamentary relations established in both parliaments. 


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Saeima Press Service

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