(Communicated by the President’s Office)
President Shimon Peres, this morning (Tuesday, 21 May 2013), at his Jerusalem residence, held a diplomatic working meeting with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevikius. The two discussed strengthening the relations between the two countries as well as Israel's relations with the European Union, of which Lithuania will assume the council presidency in July. President Peres began by congratulating Lithuania on her upcoming role and said, "As President of the State of Israel I congratulate Lithuania on her upcoming role, it is a tremendous honor and I'm sure it is a source of pride for the Lithuanian people."
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linkevikius spoke of the deep and long-standing relations between the two countries and of the many Israeli's of Lithuanian origin including journalists, diplomats and public figures. Foreign Minister Linkevikius assured President Peres that Lithuania is a friend of Israel and, while not taking sides, will support Israel during the country's tenure as the president of the European Council.
President Peres also addressed the issue and said, "I believe that John Kerry's initiative to progress the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians will lead to a breakthrough. Abu Mazen is a partner for peace and today it is clear to everyone that there is no better option than two states for two peoples. Kerry's efforts are important and together with the important work of the European Union and the voices from the Arab League, it is possible to create a framework to restart the talks."