Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius together with his colleagues from Latvia and Estonia visited Reykjavik on 25-26 September on the invitation of Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttirto and took part in the events and meetings to mark the 25th anniversary of reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Iceland and the Baltic states. Mr Minister noted that Iceland was the first country to recognise the state of Lithuania and expressed his gratitude to the people of Iceland for their support and solidarity on Lithuania’s road to freedom, democracy, and establishment of full-fledged statehood.
At the meetings of the Icelandic, Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonia ministers of foreign affairs with President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson and Prime Minister of Iceland Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, Linas Linkevičius thanked Iceland for its courage and resolution to recognise restoration of Lithuania’s independence 25 years ago.
“The declaration on reestablishment of diplomatic relations was signed by the ministers of foreign affairs of the Baltic states and Iceland in Reykjavik on 26 August 1991. The Baltic region and the Nordic countries have maintained reliable partnership ties for a quarter of a century; we think alike and, united by solidarity, we aspire to address challenges that our region faces as well as issues of importance to the international community; we are united by our goals to foster democratic values, human welfare and security,” Linkevičius underlined.
The ministers of foreign affairs of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Iceland signed the declaration on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of reestablishment of diplomatic relations in the Höfði House where the original declaration was signed on 26 August 1991. The 2016 declaration highlights the close and constructive relations and cooperation which have developed since then and which the countries are eager to enhance and develop in a friendly manner as they aim at the welfare and stability of the region and the whole of Europe.
The ministers also discussed the situation in regional security, the key items on the EU agenda, including the current state of affairs in the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU, migration challenges, relations with Russia and the situation in Ukraine, cooperation within the United Nations, and the situation in Turkey and Syria.
Linkevičius also took part in the high level discussion “25 Years of Nordic-Baltic Cooperation”, had a meeting with Matthias Brinkmann, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Iceland, and met with the Lithuanian community in Iceland.
Iceland took over the Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States on 1 July 2016, with children, equality and democracy as its priorities.