German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the presence of the German troops within NATO in Lithuania “a symbol” of “close” relationship with the Baltic state while speaking at a joint press-conference with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite in Vilnius on Friday.
SOT, Angela Merkel, German Chancellor (German): “A symbol of this close relationship, from the German perspective, is the presence of German soldiers as a framework, Germany stands ready to make the forward presence of NATO here in Lithuania clear. And aside from the air-policing, this is a further important step, and I am pleased that today we can visit the soldiers today, and by doing so show that we value their work. We are happy that there are a number of German companies which could *INAUDIBLE* and by doing so create jobs. This stands for the close integration of our economies, but also, I believe, that young people here in Lithuania have a chance to form their lives here in their country, through good professional education. And wherever there is more economic development, political support is also provided for. We also have close cultural relations, and the peoples [of our countries] are closely connected. We will discuss our international challenges, and that will also define our bilateral talks today. We work very closely together in the European Union on difficult themes, such as, for example, migration, but also on the question of inner security, how we can bring research to the forefront to make Europe a more modern and economically stronger continent. Also the question of multilateralism in various fields, the question of trade and also the difficult negotiations with the United States of America. In this respect I am pleased about the upcoming talks because Lithuania is an important partner and Dalia [Grybauskaite] is always a big authority in European discussions when something needs to be set straight. And in this regards I am very thankful.”
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