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Linas Linkevičius and South African Minister of International Relations discuss ways to combat COVID-19 pandemic and to strengthen contacts

Created: 2020.08.25 / Updated: 2020.08.25 17:49

On 25 August, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius had a telephone conversation with Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, and discussed our bilateral relationship, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the two countries, cooperation within international organizations, and other relevant issues.

Minister Linkevičius said that Lithuania and South Africa had enjoyed old historical relations due to a large Litvak community who settled in South Africa a century ago. The numerous South African Litvak community counts up to 80,000 members, 5, 000 of which are Lithuanian citizens. Litvaks successfully established themselves in South Africa as a force in the country’s politics, business, and culture. As such they constitute an essential part of the bilateral relations between Lithuania and South Africa. According to L. Linkevičius, the need to facilitate travel opportunities for Lithuanian citizens to South Africa because of the Litvak community is even more pressing. Lithuania’s Foreign Minister reminded his counterpart about Lithuania's request to lift the short stay visa requirement for Lithuanian citizens.

Minister Pandor thanked Lithuania for its assistance in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. African countries are currently facing a surge of the Covid-19 pandemic. South Africa is the hardest-hit country on the continent and accounts for more than half a million of confirmed cases.

The two ministers also voiced their concerns over the situation in Mali. The European Union, the United Nations, the African Union and other organizations in the region are looking for ways to address the deteriorating situation.

The interlocutors also discussed the drafting of bilateral agreements and noted that they took interest in intensifying bilateral dialogue in political, economic, and cultural fields. N. Pandor accepted the Lithuanian Foreign Minister’s invitation to visit Lithuania once the situation allows for it.

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