SECRETARY BLINKEN: Good afternoon, everyone. It’s a great pleasure to welcome my friend, the foreign minister of Lithuania, here today. Gabrielius, welcome back to the State Department, to Washington. I think we – we met almost exactly a year ago today in Vilnius, but it’s really great to have you here.
And this is a momentous period in a number of ways. We, of course, have the work that we are doing together with the great leadership of Lithuania in helping Ukraine continue to defend itself against the aggression from Russia; work that is now being done to prepare for what will be a very important NATO summit in Vilnius in just a few months’ time, so I look forward to comparing notes on that as we head to the summit, as well as the ongoing support for Ukraine.
And I must say as well that Lithuania has done an extraordinary job standing up to and resisting economic coercion coming from China because of its relationship with Taiwan. We strongly supported Lithuania in those efforts. I think your leadership in effectively resisting that economic coercion is a model for other countries, and we continue to stand with you in dealing with that.
So it’s very good to have you here today, and look forward to a good conversation.
FOREIGN MINISTER LANDSBERGIS: Well, thank you. And it is a great pleasure, an honor, to be back here and to have a chance to thank you and your country for the support that you provided to Ukraine throughout the last year. And I wish we had been meeting in calmer, more boring times; unfortunately, we’re living in historic times, and therefore it shows that we are having in three – in two years what is our third meeting, if I’m not mistaken.
And I will use this chance also to thank for standing up with Lithuania when it comes to China’s coercion. I think truly we developed a success story. And unfortunately, most likely it won’t be the last time when countries are coerced, and I’m happy to provide all the information from Lithuania how did we manage that.
But I will also use this opportunity to thank in a bit historic matter for U.S. being not afraid, 30 years ago, to see the Soviet Union losing a standoff of decades-long. And out of that standoff, out of that victory, and out of that loss, came Lithuanian independence. And me sitting here is the evidence of that victory 30 years ago. You were not afraid then, and I think we need to reassure ourselves and our partners in Ukraine that we won’t be afraid of their victory again today. Because out of their victory a independent, sovereign, democratic, free Ukraine will be reborn out of this unjust war that is happening in Ukraine.
So once again, I’m very grateful for the chance to meet and talk, and hopefully we’re preparing for better times to come. Thank you.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thanks, everyone.