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President received Canada’s Defence Minister

President of the Republic of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus received Canada's Defence Minister Peter Gordon MacKey who visits Lithuania to attend the almost-traditional winter meeting of foreign policy leaders and strategists.

The President underlined the world faces great challenges today. "Not having recovered from financial crisis yet, Europe fell into difficult energy situation. The Russia-Georgia conflict that sparkled last year reminds cold war times and the attempts to restore ‘influence zones' in Europe, while the world today is closely watching hostilities in Gaza strip," the President said.

It was underlined in the meeting that there is a strong need to strengthen NATO and that the Alliance remains the main guarantee of Euro-Atlantic security which has confronted a new challenge in the past years, i.e. energy security.  

Minister MacKey stressed that despite long distance Canada is interested in developing Euro-Atlantic relations with Lithuania.

Among the issues discussed was the situation in Afghanistan. The Canadian Minister said he highly appreciated Lithuania's efforts to restore peace in the Ghor Province and underlined the importance of the contribution of our special forces to enhancing security in South Afghanistan.

"Relatively few countries, including Lithuania, contribute to NATO success in Afghanistan. Your servicemen do a very important job," Mr. MacKey said.

President Adamkus emphasized that Lithuania, hearing such high evaluation of its servicemen and understanding the importance of ensuring security in Afghanistan, does not intend to reduce its contribution to restoring peace in this country.

The Head of State also noted that Lithuania is committed to ensuring continuity of NATO air-policing mission in the Baltic countries. 

"Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian people appreciate NATO Baltic air-policing mission very much", President Adamkus said.

The President and the Minister exchanged views on the importance of Lithuania-Canada cooperation in supporting Ukraine's and Georgia's Euro-Atlantic aspirations. The President said once again he welcomed very much the promise made by the Alliance in the end of the last year concerning NATO membership prospects of these two countries.

Press Service of the President

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