Viewing cable 04VILNIUS1548
Title: New Minister of Interior Furmanavicius Promises

04VILNIUS15482004-12-22 15:47:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Vilnius
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A 
SUBJECT: New Minister of Interior Furmanavicius Promises 
Continued Cooperation; Easier Residency Permit Process 
¶1. (U) Summary:  Ambassador Mull met with newly appointed 
Minister of Interior Ginteras Furmanavicius on December 
21, 2004.  Furmanavicius thanked the Ambassador for past 
U.S. efforts to train the Ministry's experts in border 
security and law enforcement.  He stated his commitment 
to maintaining close cooperation with the U.S., noting 
that both countries face similar challenges in terms of 
terrorism, organized crime, and money laundering.   The 
Ambassador raised concerns about Lithuania's residency 
permit process for U.S. citizens - particularly Fulbright 
Scholars - noting that such could act as a disincentive 
for U.S. investment in Lithuania.  Minster Furmanavicius 
agreed to help work towards finding an acceptable 
solution, suggesting the Migration Office is ready to 
work with us to address this issue. In an effort to 
increase cooperation and bi-lateral government contacts, 
the Ambassador encouraged Minister Furmanavicius to make 
an early visit to the United States to meet with top 
federal law enforcement officials. End Summary 
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Maintaining the Status Quo: Good Cooperation; Continued 
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¶2. (U) Ginteras Furmanavicius became Minister of Interior 
on December 14, 2004, making him the fourth Minister of 
Interior in four years, and second in the last two. 
Although controversy clouded his appointment, with 
allegations swirling of his business dealings with an 
accused embezzler, Lithuania's investigative service has 
cleared Furmanavicius and there has been no additional 
evidence to substantiate these allegations (ref A). 
¶3. (U) Receiving Ambassador Mull for his December 22, 
2004 courtesy-call, Minster of Interior Ginteras 
Furmanavicius noted that we were the first foreign 
diplomats to meet with him, and, although only recently 
appointed, he was well aware of the excellent cooperation 
that has existed over the past several years between the 
USG and Lithuania's Ministry of Interior.   He thanked 
the U.S. for the training and equipment it has provided, 
citing the radiological detection equipment at the 
airport and security equipment used in border security to 
help thwart WMD proliferation.  Alluding to President 
Bush's speech during his visit to Lithuania, 
Furmanavicius pointed out that Lithuania and the U.S. 
have many mutual challenges to address - organized crime, 
terrorism, money laundering -and he intended to address 
these challenges with the same level of bi-lateral 
cooperation as his predecessors.  Domestically, 
Furmanavicius's agenda focuses on increasing state 
security, while improving government services and 
decreasing the economic disparity between urban and rural 
¶4. (U) The Ambassador echoed the Ministers comments on 
USG-GOL cooperation in the area of law enforcement and 
border security, stating he looked forward to continued 
cooperation in the future.   The Ambassador made specific 
mention of the police force used to guard the U.S. 
Embassy, noting that while the Ministry of Interior has 
cutback on overall security at embassies in Vilnius, the 
police still maintain a presence at the U.S. Embassy, 
helping ensure our security.  He noted that law 
enforcement training has been one of the strongest areas 
of cooperation with the Ministry of Interior, and he 
hopes to build on the already successful programs the USG 
has undertaken with the GOL, namely undercover police 
work, post-blast training with the FBI, and security 
assessments of port security in Klaipeda and railroad 
security at the borders.  As a way to increase 
cooperation and improve already excellent bi-lateral 
relations, the Ambassador encouraged Minister 
Furmanavicius to make an early visit to the U.S. to meet 
top law enforcement officials in Washington. 
Residency Permits: A Sticking Point 
¶5. (SBU) One area of concern the Ambassador raised with 
Minister Furmanavicius is the current GOL residency 
permit policy.  He mentioned the large number of 
complaints he has heard from U.S. citizens regarding 
their attempts to obtain a residency permit, citing the 
often-confusing and lengthy process of acquiring a 
residency permit.  The current process, the Ambassador 
noted, could act as a disincentive for U.S. investment in 
Lithuania, if U.S. investors have difficulty obtaining 
resident permits. 
¶6. (SBU) The Fulbright Scholars are of particular 
concern. The Ambassador noted that they are in Lithuania 
for an academic year, but must wait a considerable amount 
of time before receiving their visas, often longer than 
90 days, when they become out of status and must leave 
the country or face fines.  The Ambassador mentioned that 
the Fulbright program is a government sponsored program 
and would hope the Migration Office could ensure that the 
Fulbright scholars receive their visas before the 90-day 
temporary residence period expires.  The Ambassador cited 
the bi-lateral program the GOL has in place with the 
French government and hopes that the U.S. Embassy can 
work with the Migration Office to establish a similar 
program.  Minister Furmanavicius stated he was well aware 
of the U.S. concerns regarding residency permits and 
would do everything possible to solve the problem and 
make it easier for U.S. citizens to come to Lithuania to 
study, invest or live.  He suggested we contact the 
Migration Office directly, as they are prepared to talk 
with the U.S. in order to solve this problem. 
¶7. (SBU) Minister Furmanavicius seems prepared to 
continue the close cooperation his predecessors have 
forged with the USG, with his list of priorities offering 
specific areas where the USG can offer training and 
support, namely in state security.  He realizes the 
importance of maintaining good relations and has taken 
note of the residency permit issue and seems willing to 
address it promptly.  We will explore options for 
bringing Furmanavicius to Washington in the future.