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BRATTLEBORO — Lithuanian Ambassador to the United States Audra Plepyte is visiting Vermont to learn about the state and build relations with an eye toward economic cooperation.

Plepyte started her visit to Vermont on Wednesday with a tour of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation’s Cotton Mill building.

“It was impressive to see how the local community and the people can help the local businesses to develop, providing different types of assistance and premises,” she told reporters during an interview Thursday at the Guilford Country Store and Cafe.

Lithuanian Ambassador to the United States Audra Plepyte takes a tour around the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation’s Cotton Mill building, in Brattleboro, Vt., during a visit to Brattleboro on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021.

Plepyte particularly liked how the Cotton Mill is used not only for offices but production. During the tour, she could smell chocolate and granola being made.

“I think that inspires others as well to develop their own business,” she said.

Vermont and Lithuania are alike in terms of having a focus on natural and local foods, Plepyte said. She hopes to create partnerships between the two places.

Her country, like Brattleboro, has a diverse economy. Lithuania is one of the leading countries in attracting financial technology companies, Plepyte said, citing favorable conditions such as high-quality internet service.

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Lithuania is grateful for the United States for its support during the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states in 1940, Plepyte said.

“We’re working with the U.S. on many, many issues,” she said.

Plepyte called recent events in Afghanistan, where the Taliban has taken charge after the U.S. left, a “sad situation.”

“The decision was made to withdraw and I think it’s right,” she said, because the country has to be able to protect itself and ensure its own economic future. “We have to work closely with the U.S. and other allied countries on withdrawing the Afghan people who worked with us and helped us in building Afghanistan. Nobody expected, not the E.U. or any of the European allies, how quickly the Taliban would come and take.”

Lithuania assisted the U.S. with military and development efforts in Afghanistan. Plepyte said in the beginning, people in her country questioned the move but “then they felt very much for the Afghani people and they saw how Lithuania could help other countries, which are maybe so far away from our region and they need some help.”

Plepyte said her country was able to bring the number of COVID infections down last spring with lockdown.

“Then I think we became victims of our success because the second wave was a little more difficult to convince people to go into lockdown,” she said. “So the numbers were much higher than the first wave.”

Lithuania vaccinated people quickly once doses became available, Plepyte said. She called vaccination certificates used to enter businesses, restaurants and shops “huge incentives” that helped get more people inoculated in her country.

Other local visits on her trip included the Brattleboro Food Co-op and Randi Solin Glass. Plepyte met with Vermont President Pro Tempore Sen. Becca Balint, D-Windham, and State Rep. Tristan Toleno, D-Windham-2-3. She also had plans to go to Burlington, Windsor and Craftsbury.