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Today, Their Majesties the King and the Queen of the Belgians launch a three-day visit to Lithuania, highlighting 100 years of diplomatic relations between Belgium and Lithuania. This state visit, in light of the Russian war in Ukraine, will focus on military solidarity, but also on the technologies of the future to achieve the dual green and digital transition. Also on the programme is a visit to Kaunas, this year's European capital of culture. The royal couple also wished to include a social component in the programme.
The Sovereigns will be accompanied by Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Affairs, Foreign Trade and Federal Cultural Institutions, Mrs Hadja Lahbib, Minister-President of Wallonia, Mr Elio Di Rupo, Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region, Mr Rudi Vervoort, Minister-President of Flanders, Mr Jan Jambon and Minister-President of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, Mr Pierre-Yves Jeholet. The official delegation will include high-level political leaders, as well as representatives of academic institutions and business leaders.
The King and Queen will be received in Vilnius by the President of Lithuania, H.E. Gitanas Nausėda and the First Lady. At the official reception, the King will introduce the official Belgian delegation to the President. The meeting between the Sovereigns and the presidential couple will also include a decoration ceremony and a private meeting. Next, a wreath will be laid at the Memorial to those who died for Lithuanian independence, in the presence of Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielus Landsbergis. Belgium recognised the Republic of Lithuania on 27 December 1922, but not its subsequent annexation by the Soviet Union. This is still appreciated in Vilnius today.
The Queen will visit the Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History, where a cooperation agreement with the Belgian Jewish Museum will be concluded and a number of art works on loan from the Jewish Museum in Brussels will be unveiled.
The first day of the state visit will conclude with the traditional state dinner offered by the President of Lithuania in honour of the King and Queen. During this state dinner, the heads of state will exchange traditional speeches and toasts.
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