Armenian News-NEWS.am presents an interview with Lithuania’s Ambassador to Armenia H.E. Giedrius Apuokas.
In 2011 Lithuania held chairmanship in the OCSE. How did it affect the relations between Armenia and Lithuania?
Chairmanship in the OCSE for Lithuania one of the most responsible tasks assumed in the International Organizations yet, I would not say, that changed character of our relations, but definitely made them more intensive, especially in the political field. Just to remember the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Audronius Ažubalis in the capacity of the Chairman of OSCE, visit of the President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė, other high ranking officials from MFA and MoD. These visits mostly concentrated on issues related to the chairmanship and issues of regional significance, but that also was excellent opportunity to touch upon bilateral issues. While speaking about relations between Armenia and Lithuania, I can’t pass over other events and facts that are not related to the OSCE. We had very interesting visit of our Minister of Education Gintaras Steponavičius to Armenia, which opens possibilities for exchange of students, cooperation between state institutions of both states in field of reforms in the field of different levels of education, direct relations between our universities and colleges. We are looking forward to the visit of delegation of the Ministry of Education of Armenia at the beginning of next year. We are actively involved in passing of relevant Lithuanian expertise in field of reforms using frameworks provided by EU. Our experts are part of the team of EU Advisory Group, from the beginning of next year Lithuanian experts will lead two EU-Armenia Twinning projects and participate in one as younger partner.
This year was marked by a significant event – opening of the Armenian Embassy in Vilnius. What is your opinion how will opening of the embassy affect development of relations in the field of economy?
Opening of Armenian Embassy in Vilnius is sincerely appreciated by Lithuanian side and certainly will have positive impact on all aspects of our relations, including economic ties, although our embassy in Yerevan is making any available effort to provide information to businessmen on both sides, but Lithuanian businessmen now will have source of information closer to home and with different experience and knowledge, that can provide we.
How do you assess economic relations between our states? What development prospects do they have?
Economic relations is one of the fields of our relations where there is a lot of space for improvement, said that, I should note, that there is a clear rise of interest of Lithuanian companies in activities in Armenia during approximately one year. Some Lithuanian businessmen are exploring possibilities for trade and investment, others are already here. Baltic Information Technologies, Visaginas based company, is involved in creation of software for Metzamor nuclear power plant, ACME Lithuania, largest distributor of IT products in Baltic states acquired Armenian IT company and established ACC Armenia, company with ambitions to become largest wholesale IT distributor in Armenia. Lithuanian company Ecoservice participates in tender declared by Yerevan municipality for the waste management and I hope will succeed, Avia Solutions Group from Vilnius explores possibilities provide different services for aviation industries and already provides pilot training for Armavia, one of the largest Lithuanian food industry companies VICI Group also operates on Armenian market. These intensifying ties provide hope for expanding of future economic cooperation.
How do you like to spend the holidays? What Lithuanian Christmas or New Year tradition can you name?
Since I have family spread over the Europe, we are planning to gather for the Christmas Eve at our home in Vilnius, according to Lithuanian tradition this evening is spent in the circle of the closest family, having meal (at least 12 dishes, without meat or dairy products) together, exchanging gifts at the end and a lot of the people attends night Mass at the church. During couple of next days, which are Christmas holiday you are supposed to meet friends and celebrate. New Year is party time, mostly and mainly enjoyed by younger people, who leave homes for clubs, private parties, sometimes in country side, others celebrate on the streets and city squares.
And finally, your wishes to the Armenian people.
Sincere wishes of bright spirits and festive mood for Christmas time, enjoy being together, sharing love and happiness within your families and with your friends. For the New Year I would like to wish, first of all Peace and, of course, good health, joy, prosperity in the families and the State, fruitful work which would bring you satisfaction.