April 24, 2006,

VILNIUS, April 24 (Itar-Tass) – Lithuanian Foreign Minister Antanas Valionis has tendered his resignation, the presidential press service told Itar-Tass on Monday.

Valionis, who is deputy leader of the New Union socio-liberal party, decided to quit, because on April 11 the parliament forced its speaker Arturas Paulauskas – the party’s leader – to step down.

On the same day, the party’s presidium decided to walk out from the ruling coalition and recall two members from the Cabinet – Foreign Minister Valionis and Social Protection and Labor Minister Vilia Blinkiaviciute.

Valionis said in an interview on the national radio that “the party’s leaders got too hot-tempered.”

“There was no need to walk out from the coalition, but ambitions got the upper hand.”

He called on the party’s members “to further support the socio-democratic leader, Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas.”

President Valdas Adamkus asked Valionis to leave the post after the international conference of presidents of the Black Sea region and Baltic states takes place in Vilnius on May 3-5. Lithuania initiated the conference.