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On the working visit to Washington, D.C. on 9 April, Lithuanian Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Evaldas Ignatavičius conferred the award of honour of Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs “Lithuanian Diplomacy Star” on the U.S. Secretary of State’s Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy, Ambassador Richard Morningstar for his support to Lithuania’s goal of energy independence.
On 9-15 April, Ignatavičius is paying a working visit to Washington, D.C. and Chicago.

The solemn ceremony at the Lithuanian Embassy in the United States was attended by the U.S. State Department’s Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, Ambassador Carlos Pascual, other officials from U.S. State Department and foreign diplomats.

“The Baltic states are still an “energy island” in Europe. However, with the help of the United States and European Union, Lithuania will no longer be a prisoner in this distressful situation. In today’s world, energy has become an integral part of diplomacy, without which it is difficult to maintain economic, political freedom and independence,” Ignatavičius said.

He thanked Lithuania’s transatlantic partners, the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Morningstar for continuous effort, support and understanding of the problems of Lithuania and all the Baltic States, which persistently seek to develop alternative, modern national and regional power generation projects to ensure their independence from a sole source provider.

“We believe that a solid joint assistance of the U.S. and EU will enable us to implement our energy independence projects and projects to diversify sources of supply. We believe that we can secure that the nuclear energy projects, which are being implemented at Lithuania’s state border, would not present any threat to our national security,” said the Vice-Minister.

At the event, Ambassador of Lithuania to the U.S. Pavilionis stressed that energy security issues were topical on the EU-U.S. transatlantic agenda and for Lithuania-U.S bilateral relations.

“Energy security issues are discussed at the U.S.-EU Energy Council, Lithuania constantly emphasizes the need to analyse energy security issues in NATO context, U.S. companies are participating in Lithuanian projects of regional liquefied natural gas terminal, shale gas and the new nuclear power plant in Visaginas, together with our U.S. counterparts we are establishing the Centre on Nuclear Non-Proliferation in Lithuania,” Pavilionis said.

From 1999 to 2001, Morningstar served as United States Ambassador to the European Union. From 1993 to 1999, Ambassador Morningstar served as Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State for Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy, prior to this he worked at various energy companies in the U.S. This U.S. diplomat is member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

During the working visit to the U.S., Ignatavičius is also holding meetings with the Assistant Secretary for Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon, other high-ranking officials from the U.S. State Department and representatives of non-governmental organizations.

The meetings will discuss issues that are topical on the transatlantic agenda and for bilateral Lithuania-U.S relations, including Eastern neighbourhood issues, the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago, establishment of a NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence in Lithuania and development cooperation projects.

The Vice-Minister will also participate in the discussion on the Baltic and Nordic cooperation that is being organised by the Atlantic Council of the United States. In 2012, Lithuania is coordinating activities of the Enhanced Partnership in Northern Europe (E-PINE).

In Chicago, Ignatavičius is participating in the convention of Lithuanian Honorary Consuls in North America, the event marking the 50th anniversary of the Lithuanian Foundation and will meet with representatives of Lithuanian communities in the U.S. and Canada.

Source: urm.lt