Viewing cable 05VILNIUS1103

05VILNIUS11032005-10-14 14:19:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 VILNIUS 001103 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/13/2015 
     ¶B. B. VILNIUS 993 
     ¶C. C. VILNIUS 1012 
     ¶D. D. VILNIUS 1017 
     ¶E. E. VILNIUS 1070 
     ¶F. F. VILNIUS 1093 
¶1. (SBU) Summary.  Representative Jim Kolbe led a six-Member 
congressional delegation to Vilnius October 10-12.  The 
delegation discussed democracy-building initiatives in the 
region, reviewed U.S. bilateral and multilateral foreign 
assistance programs, and Lithuania's relationship with Russia 
with President Valdas Adamkus, Speaker Arturas Paulauskas, 
Minister of Defense Gediminas Kirkilas, Special Investigative 
Service Director Povilas Malakauskas and Belarusian 
opposition figures.  The delegation thanked interlocutors for 
Lithuania's strong contributions to the Global War on Terror, 
including its leadership in establishing a Provincial 
Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan.  End Summary. 
¶2. (SBU) Representative Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), Chairman of the 
Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, led a 
six-Member delegation to Lithuania on October 10-12.  The 
delegation, which also included Representatives Martin Sabo 
(D-MN), John Carter (R-TX), James Moran (D-VA), Dennis 
Rehberg (R-MN), and John Shimkus (R-IL), affirmed to GOL 
interlocutors a consistent message of gratitude for 
Lithuania's contributions to U.S.- and NATO-led operations in 
Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans.  The delegation also 
sought ideas on how the USG and Lithuania might best work 
together to build democracy in the region, particularly in 
Belarus, and how U.S. foreign assistance programs could 
facilitate these initiatives. 
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Supporting Democracy in Lithuania's Neighborhood 
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¶3. (C) President Valdas Adamkus told the delegation of 
Lithuania's plans to organize a "Conference of New 
Democracies" in May 2006.  Adamkus anticipates that the 
conference will include representatives from Georgia, 
Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova and hopes that high-level 
representatives from the USG and other Western democracies 
will participate.  Adamkus also emphasized Lithuania's 
support for democratic reforms in Belarus and noted that 
George Soros promised sizable funding for the European 
Humanities University, a Belarusian institute operating in 
exile in Lithuania. 
¶4. (C) Parliamentary Speaker Arturas Paulauskas thanked the 
delegation for USG support of Lithuania's foreign policy 
aspirations, including promoting democracy in Belarus. 
Concurring with Rep. Kolbe's assertion that Lithuania has 
already undertaken "very substantial" initiatives related 
both to the global war on terror and democratization, 
Paulauskas stated that Lithuania has a "very large" role to 
play in promoting democracy in the region.  Emmanuelis 
Zingeris, Chairman of parliament's American Caucus, called 
upon the United States to make more than a "mere symbolic" 
gesture of funding for pro-democratic forces in Belarus and 
to better synchronize and fund initiatives with "Friends of 
Belarus" forces within the EU.  The issue of Belarus, 
Zingeris said, should be elevated into the top tier of the 
issues for the region. 
¶5. (C) A similar message was proffered by members of Belarus' 
opposition during a meeting arranged with the assistance of 
local representatives of the National Democratic Institute 
and the International Republican Institute (reftel F).  The 
Belarusian delegation, which comprised leaders of the 10 
democratic coalition, independent media, and human rights 
NGOs, strongly encouraged increased U.S. financial assistance 
to Belarusian democratic forces, particularly in the area of 
print media.  CODEL Kolbe expressed continued U.S. support 
for the Belarusian opposition movement and discussed 
prospects for democratic reform in the country.  The 
Belarusian opposition leaders were cautiously optimistic 
about the prospects for democratic change in the near future, 
with the 2006 presidential elections serving as the 
catalyzing event. 
¶6. (SBU) Special Investigation Services (STT) Director 
Povilas Malakauskas told the delegation that USG assistance 
to his organization to combat corruption and organized crime 
in Lithuania had also influenced the region for the better. 
Lithuania, he said, is passing the expertise gained from the 
USG through technical assistance and educational exchanges to 
Ukraine, Central Asia and the Caucasus.  Malakauskas 
highlighted the need for additional training and assistance, 
and called for a longer term exchange of experts between DHS 
and the STT. 
Relations with Russia 
¶7. (C) The President told the CODEL that Lithuania's support 
for democracy irritates Russia, and noted that President 
Putin snubbed him blatantly while they were in New York. 
Adamkus also made known that he harbors  doubts that the 
incursion and crash of the Russian fighter plane on September 
15 (septel) were entirely accidental, but that he is 
satisfied with how Lithuania resolved the situation (reftels 
¶8. (SBU) Minister of Defense Gediminas Kirkilas told the 
delegation that the SU-27 incident appeared to be an accident 
without malicious intent, and noted that he hoped the 
incident would focus more attention on the status of the 
Russian enclave of Kaliningrad and on NATO's need to upgrade 
the capabilities of the Baltic Air Policing mission. 
Kirkilas called for the demilitarization of the Kaliningrad 
region and noted that Lithuania would look to NATO for 
support on this issue. 
Lithuania Wants to Remain an Active NATO Ally 
¶9. (SBU) Defense Minister Kirkilas thanked CODEL Kolbe for 
the USG's vital and sustained support to Lithuania's 
military.  Kirkilas asked for continued U.S. cooperation, 
declaring, "We want to continue to stand shoulder to shoulder 
with you."  Kirkilas highlighted U.S. assistance to the 
Lithuanian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in 
Afghanistan as particularly helpful and described Afghanistan 
as a "long-term commitment" for the GOL.  The Minister also 
noted that a recently adopted parliamentary resolution will 
provide the MOD with much greater flexibility to deploy 
Lithuanian troops on international operations. 
¶10. (SBU) Kirkilas outlined three primary goals for 
Lithuania's defense policy.  The first is to remain an active 
NATO member through a modernization of its armed forces that 
will allow for sizeable participation in international 
operations.  The second is to promote regional stability by 
deepening a strategic partnership with Poland and the other 
Baltic countries while maintaining good relations with 
neighbors Russia and Belarus.  The final goal is to increase 
cooperation and promote reform in countries of the former 
Soviet Union, notably Ukraine, Moldova, and the South 
Energy Dependence 
¶11. (C) President Adamkus said that he expected Lukoil to win 
the bid for Yukos-held shares of the Mazeikiu Nafta oil 
refinery (MN), but expressed concern for Lithuania's energy 
security.  He added that he was keeping a low public profile 
on this transaction because of his active support of the 1998 
privatization of MN to the U.S. company Williams 
International -- a sale that, in the end, had been a bad deal 
for Lithuania, in his view. 
¶12. (C) Adamkus noted his support for nuclear energy and said 
he hopes to win EU approval for a new nuclear power plant 
(NPP) to replace the Ignalina NPP, which Lithuania committed 
during EU accession negotiations to decommission by the end 
of 2009.  The Ambassador reminded Adamkus that Westinghouse 
remains keenly interested in building a new nuclear-powered 
electricity-generating plant in Lithuania. 
¶13. (C) Speaker Paulauskas highlighted the relationship 
between energy and Lithuania's independence.  Noting that 
Lithuania was heavily dependent upon Russian oil and natural 
gas to fuel its economy, and that the role of the U.S. is 
"always important," Paulauskas called upon the U.S. to assist 
Lithuania seek energy independence from Russia. 
¶14. (SBU) Lithuania's political leadership opened every door 
for CODEL Kolbe, beginning with the welcome lunch hosted by 
President Adamkus.  The level of the CODEL's meetings and the 
caliber of their conversations with top GOL policy-makers 
reflect Lithuania,s continued confidence in the United 
States as a critical ally with shared values and 
complimentary foreign policy goals. 
¶15. (U) CODEL Kolbe did not have the opportunity to clear 
this cable.