President Jacques Chirac of the French Republic and the accompanying delegation paid an official visit to Lithuania.
After the official welcoming ceremony, the President of the French Republic met with President Valdas Adamkus of the Republic of Lithuania. Presidents of France and Lithuania discussed the issues of bilateral co-operation in the fields of politics, economy, defence, culture, science and education as well as Euroatlantic integration, defence and security. At the meeting, the Presidents exchanged official gifts.
During the press conference, President Adamkus noted a successful development of the bilateral relations between Lithuania and France. “Throughout the entire decade of our diplomatic relations, Lithuania, on its way to the European Union and NATO, has felt a kind support of France,” said President Valdas Adamkus.
The Head of the State of Lithuania emphasised that although the trade turnover was increasing every year, it was important to promote more actively bilateral trade and investment. President Jacques Chirac, whose delegation included a number of businessmen, noted with regret that “French businessmen had been looking towards Southern European States for too long and did not see the prospects in the North”. The President expressed hope that the French-Lithuanian economic relations would get stronger after this visit.
President Chirac welcomed Lithuania’s progress in the EU integration process and its efforts to catch-up with the first wave of candidate countries. The leader of France noted that France supported Lithuania’s speedier integration into the European Union. He stated that Lithuania’s aspirations of integrating into the Euroatlantic security structures are justifiable and that France supported them. However, in the opinion of President Chirac, NATO enlargement should not create new dividing lines in Europe.
The Presidents of Lithuania and France underscored the importance of the agreement concerning the Lithuanian embassy in Paris. The heads of Lithuanian and French foreign offices will sign respective agreements. “It was the only issue which overshadowed our otherwise bright and optimistic relations,” emphasised the President of the French Republic.
In the Theatre Hall of Vilnius University President Chirac met with Lithuanian politicians, figures of culture and representatives of the student community. The President delivered a lecture on the future of the united Europe and answered the questions from the audience. Later, at the Antakalnis cemetery, the President laid a wreath of flowers at the memorial to those who died for the freedom of Lithuania, and visited the French Embassy.
In the afternoon, the French President met with Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas. The President and the Prime Minister discussed the issues of Ignalina Nuclear Power plant and bilateral economic co-operation.
In the evening, a dinner was hosted at the Presidential Palace in honour of the French President.
Press Service of the President