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Posted at 11:31 AM ET, 01/12/2011

Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin arrives in Lithuania

By Felicia Sonmez

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin arrived in Vilnius, Lithuania on Wednesday, where he is expected to conduct three days of high-level meetings with Lithuanian officials, the Illinois Democrat's office announced.

Durbin will address the Lithuanian parliament Thursday, marking the 20th anniversary of the Day of the Defenders of Freedom, the day when 14 civilians were killed and hundreds wounded in resisting the Soviet army in its attempt to maintain control of the republic. Durbin will also meet with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius and other officials.

Durbin's mother was born in Lithuania and immigrated to the United States as a child; the senator has maintained strong ties to the country and has visited many times, according to a spokesman.

Durbin is expected to return to the U.S. on Saturday. The Senate is in recess until Jan. 25.

By Felicia Sonmez  | January 12, 2011; 11:31 AM ET
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