Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Chairman
Hon. Alcee L. Hastings, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
July 2, 2009
U.S. DELEGATION MEETS LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT
Delivers Letter from President Obama Marking Lithuania’s 1000th Anniversary
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission), and Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) presented Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus with a letter from President Barack Obama on the occasion of the 1000th anniversary of the first written reference to Lithuania.
The meeting with the 13-member Congressional Delegation focused on the bilateral relationship between Lithuania and America.
“Lithuania has been a staunch U.S. ally, agreeing to accept detainees from Guantanamo Bay, committing troops to reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and helping to encourage neighboring Belarus to become a more open, democratic society,” said Chairman Cardin. “We greatly appreciate President Adamkus and the Lithuanian people’s graciousness in hosting the Parliamentary Assembly this week.”
Lithuania was first referenced in print in the Quedlinburg Chronicle of 1009 when the book on historic empires mentioned the region bordering Russia.
“The letter we bring from President Obama commends Lithuania for its achievements – and there is much to commend. I thank the Lithuanian government for opening their Parliament to us this week for the Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and continuing to engage on the host of challenges we all face to improve human rights, security and democratic governance throughout the OSCE region,” said Co-Chairman Hastings.
The full text of the letter from the White House is below.
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the Federal Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 56 countries. The Commission consists of nine members from the U.S. Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.
The White House
June 19, 2009
President of the Republic of Lithuania
Dear Mr. President:
Thank you for inviting me to Vilnius to join you in the July 6 celebration of the millennium of Lithuania. Although my schedule, unfortunately, will prevent me from visiting Lithuania at that time, I want to take a moment to congratulate you on this remarkable occasion.
This is an auspicious year for your nation. In addition to commemorating the 1000th anniversary of the first written reference to Lithuania, you are celebrating the selection of Vilnius as the European Union’s 2009 Capital of Culture. Both events reflect not only Lithuania’s long and rich history, but also the extraordinary transformation your country has enjoyed since reaffirming its freedom nearly 20 years ago.
The United States is proud to count Lithuania among its closest friends and most reliable allies. We look forward to our continued partnership in promoting peace, democracy, and respect for human rights worldwide. I applaud Lithuania and its achievements, and send my best wishes as you and the Lithuanian people celebrate an important milestone in your nation’s history.
Media Contact: Neil Simon
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