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Lithuania-Tibet-7Dharamshala: - Dalia Grybauskaite, the President of Lithuania, current holder of the EU's rotating presidency, met with the spiritual leader of Tibet His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Wednesday afternoon, September 11, shortly after his arrival in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.

The President described the private meeting, during which they discussed matters of mutual interest, as an honour. "Your Holiness, welcome to my country, I can see, you are very healthy, so I am very happy," Grybauskait? said in a video from the meeting posted on her website.

"I hope that you will enjoy meetings with people because people love you. For me it is an honour to able to meet you," Grybauskait? told His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

"I have the opportunity to come over here and express greetings for a new young nation," His Holiness told the President Grybauskaite.

"I am very much impressed with the people of a small country," His Holiness said, while sharing a story with Grybauskait about her country?.

"The President met with Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama for a private conversation," her spokeswoman Daiva Ulbinait? told BNS.

During his four-day visit to Lithuania, the 78-year-old Nobel Peace laureate His Holiness the Dalai Lama will visit the Lithuanian parliament and the Vilnius Town Hall, deliver a lecture.

At the parliament, he will meet over 40 Lithuanian parliamentarians, as well as the former head-of-state MEP Vytautas Landsbergis, MEPs Leonidas Donskis and Laima Andrikien?.

He was among the first public figures to welcome Lithuanian independence in 1990 after a half-century of Soviet occupation.

"We have a moral debt to the Dalai Lama," Leonidas Donskis, a Lithuanian member of the European Parliament, told AFP Wednesday.

He added that His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who has visited Lithuania twice before, is a global symbol of non-violence -- the chosen tactic during Lithuania's independence drive.

The Tibetan spiritual leader visited Lithuania in 1991 and 2001. During the last visit, he met with then president Valdas Adamkus for what was described as a "private conversation".

Lithuania officially considers the Tibet region in the Himalaya Mountains a part of China, however, joins the European Union's (EU) call for peaceful regulation of the relations between the Chinese administration and Tibet's spiritual leader Dalai Lama and his representatives.

Like Tibet, the Baltic countries have experience struggling to maintain their identity under communist occupation.

A nation of three million people, Lithuania assumed the EU's half-year rotating presidency on July 1.

Earlier Wednesday, activists handed Grybauskaite a petition with 6,000 signatures calling on her to raise the Tibet issue on the EU agenda.

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