On 19 April Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Petras Vaitiekunas during his first official visit to Kyrgyzstan together with President of Kyrgyz Republic Kurmanbek Bakiyev and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ednan Karabayev discussed a wide scope of bilateral relations, multilateral and regional issues.
“Kyrgyzstan is valued as the leader of democratic reforms in the region, a country where civil society grew strong,” said P.Vaitiekunas. “Today we can also hear the voices of opposition. However, we trust that you will find a peaceful way to remedy the current situation”.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyz Republic Ednan Karabayev welcomed the Lithuanian delegation and assured that Kyrgyzstan would tackle all the issues only by means of political dialogue.
The Heads of diplomacy of Lithuania and Kyrgyzstan signed a Protocol on cooperation between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania and Kyrgyzstan. The Ministers agreed to accelerate the development of legal cooperation basis, prepare agreements on Investment Promotion and Protection and Double Taxation Avoidance that enable development of economic relations and trade exchange.
Minister P.Vaitiekunas signed documents authorising Stasys Vidugiris as the first Lithuanian Honorary Consul in the country.
Possibilities of enhancing cooperation in the areas of transport, infrastructure development, energy, agriculture products processing industry and environment protection were discussed. During the meetings the officials from Ministries of National Defence, Transport and Communications, Agriculture and Kyrgyz officials discussed these issues in more detail.
P.Vaitiekunas indicated the significance of Kyrgyzstan’s Manas Air Base in tackling logistical questions.
“Together we can revive the historical Silk Road,” said P.Vaitiekunas. The Minister emphasized that Lithuania was prepared to help Kyrgyzstan, which was developing cooperation with the European Union and NATO, to open wider the window to Europe.
Discussing the issues of cooperation between Central Asia and the EU, the Ministers exchanged opinions on the priorities of the EU strategy on Central Asia. The Minister of Kyrgyz Republic welcomed Lithuanian aspiration to chair the OSCE in 2010.
Minister E. Karabayev showed interest in Lithuanian experience of heading the Ghor Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan and the implementation of civil projects.
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania and Kyrgyzstan also discussed the possibility to intensify the inter-parliamentary dialogue, cultural and academic exchange. P.VaitiekÅ«nas extended an invitation to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyz Republic to visit Lithuania together with representatives of business community.
In Bishkek the Minister P.Vaitiekunas opened Lithuanian-Kyrgyz Business Forum which was attended by heads of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Kyrgyzstan, officials from ministries, businessmen, more than 100 participants overall.
“Large number of Forum participants indicates that business trusts in the perspective of our successful cooperation,” said Minister Petras VaitiekÅ«nas.
Minister P.Vaitiekunas emphasized that today the trade turnover of the countries did not reflect the potential of the countries. Even though compared to 2005 Lithuanian export to Kyrgyzstan increased almost by 50 percent in 2006, however, it amounted just to 46.61 million litas. P.VaitiekÅ«nas expressed hope that economic relations of Lithuanian and Kyrgyzstan would intensify.
The Minister invited business representatives from Kyrgyz Republic to find partners in Lithuania and courageously enter the EU market. Kyrgyz businessmen suggested cooperating in the areas of light industry, leather goods production, houseware production, agriculture products processing industry, etc.
In the Business Forum it was stressed that Kyrgyzstan, as a member of the World Trade Organization aims to follow open and foreign investment friendly economic policy.