Belarus and Lithuania will continue to develop and strengthen good neighborly relations. Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania Evaldas Ignatavičius is completing his diplomatic mission in Belarus. He's been working in our country since 2013.
Belarus and Lithuania share 700km of common border and a few centuries they lived in one state. Today, the two independent countries are building the foundations of good-neighborly relations. Turnover long ago exceeded $1 billion. More specifically, in 2015, the nations posted a trade turnover of $1.2 billion, and it could be more if it had not been for crisis times. However, the intensity of mutual trade has declined recently.
However, Lithuania is among ten leading trade partners of Belarus.
In addition, Vilnius plays a significant role in the rapprochement between Belarus and the European Union.
Alexander Lukashenko, President of the Republic of Belarus:
Diplomatically, you probably realize that I meet with people who (I mean ambassadors) made a great contribution to the development of relations. Who worked well, as it should be, in my view, by "gluing" relations. Who made a lot for the rapprochement of peoples during their service. This is the main principle based on which I meet with representatives of embassies and ambassadors completing their service in Belarus.
I think you are also among this category of ambassadors. I understand that you are a servant of your country, the president. You can have your own interests. Nevertheless, you understood that Belarus is a neighboring country. The country where you are no stranger. We have had all kinds of relationships in the history, including our life in the joint state You will always remember this.
And it affected us to a certain extent too. Maybe this can be called an obligation. You are burdened by certain obligations to your partners in the European Union, NATO, etc. You know our situation. We also have our obligations to our partners.
However, we always found a way to understanding. And we have always found the path along which we are ready to go together. And you showed your worth along this path.
Therefore, I first of all want to thank you for what you have done during your service in our country. And I very much hope that, wherever you work, you will preserve piece and kindness that the Belarusian people gave you. I will be very happy about it.
Evaldas Ignatavičius, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Lithuania in the Republic of Belarus:
Thank you for your good wishes. Lithuania, as you said, is a state that is not a stranger to Belarus. Lithuania appreciates Belarus as a neighbor. We value you as a very important regional country. We appreciate the efforts to restore peace and good neighborliness in the region. For us, I think, it is very important.
Lithuania has been in the EU for 12 years. And all these 12 years, we have been committed to the best relations between Belarus and the European Union. And I am very pleased with the progress that has occurred over the past few years. So we will try to go further along the path of good-neighborliness and the development of relations, both at the bilateral level and at the level of Belarus and the European Union.
So I would like to convey my best wishes to Belarus and wish it bright future. Working on my next assignment I will try to keep an eye on the Belarus-Lithuania relations. I will use for this purpose all my knowledge, all experience and all my personal contacts.
Lithuania played an active role in the European Union when it came to the abolition of anti-Belarus sanctions.
Belarusian cargo occupies one-third of Klaipeda port. Lithuanian businessmen are eager to invest in Belarus' economy.
There is even statistical data, according to which a fifth of Lithuanian millionaires from the top 100 have a business in Belarus.
Lithuanian investments amounted to nearly $170 million in 2015. One of the successful examples implemented in recent years is a woodworking cluster in the free economic zone Mogilev. It is organized by a Lithuanian company and was launched July 2013. The total cost of the project is more than $200 million.
Today, more than 600 companies with Lithuanian capital are operating in Belarus. In Lithuania, there are more than 250 enterprises with Belarusian capital. These include Belarus' facilities to produce and assemble tractors, cars and municipal vehicles.