C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 000013
STATE FOR EUR/NB AND EUR/RPM
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/04/2014
TAGS: MOPS MARR MCAP PGOV PREL LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIA REAFFIRMS INTEREST IN AFGHANISTAN PRT
REF: A. ANDERSON-KELLY E-MAIL 1/4/05 AND PREVIOUS (NOTAL)
Â¶B. 2004 VILNIUS 1196
Classified By: POL/ECON OFFICER TREVOR BOYD
FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D)
Â¶1. (C) Summary. Lithuania is seriously considering leading a
Provincial Reconstruction Team mission in Afghanistan. The
MFA will brief the Foreign Minister and Defense Minister on
the issue on January 6. Following the return of a GOL
fact-finding team from Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif on January
11, President Adamkus will likely discuss GOL participation
during a meeting of the State Defense Council on January 12.
Lithuania's two most salient concerns are cost and staffing.
It will want commitments of personnel and other resources
from NATO allies before climbing aboard. End Summary.
Reaction to Prospective USG Support
Â¶2. (C) Charge met with Kestutis Jankauskas, Director of MFA's
Security Policy Department, on January 5 regarding
Lithuania's possible participation in a Provincial
Reconstruction Team (PRT) mission in Afghanistan. Noting
that a GOL team will conclude a fact-finding mission to
Britain's PRTs in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif on January 11,
Jankauskas requested the meeting to obtain information
regarding possible USG support for a Lithuanian-led PRT in
Qala-ye Now or Chaghcharan. Jankauskas told Charge he will
brief both Foreign Minister Antanas Valionis and Minister of
Defense Gediminas Kirkilas on the issue January 6. President
Adamkus, he said, would likely call a meeting of the State
Defense Council to discuss, and possibly decide, Lithuania's
participation in a PRT on January 12.
Â¶3. (C) Noting that the GOL should submit a formal request for
assistance, Charge described the technical, financial,
personnel, and logistical support the USG might provide to
the PRT per guidance in ref a. Jankauskas welcomed the news
on the potential assistance, especially the prospective offer
of a USG development aid specialist with access to USAID
funds (the GOL has virtually no experience in that field).
Â¶4. (C) The cost, and the January 20 deadline imposed by
DSACEUR, still concerns the GOL, said Jankauskas. The GOL's
2005 defense budget has already been allocated; GOL funds for
the mission have to come from somewhere else. For that
reason, he said, the GOL remains focused on cost. To that
end, Jankauskas said the GOL would appreciate additional
logistical information, particularly related to
transportation issues within Afghanistan and start-up costs.
He agreed that some of these issues would clarify once
Lithuanian fact-finders were on the ground next week.
Looking for a Partner
Â¶5. (C) Though the GOL remains hopeful, Jankauskas observed
that Lithuania's Baltic neighbors appeared reluctant to
participate in a GOL-led PRT. He stressed the importance of
obtaining personnel contributions from other NATO allies.
The GOL, with 56 troops already detailed to Afghanistan, has
nearly reached the 70-troop deployment ceiling established by
the September 2004 international operations bill (ref B).
While the GOL will shift some of those resources to the PRT
if it commits, Jankauskas said that the GOL simply must have
troop contributions from other NATO states if it is to run
the PRT. In particular, he said, Lithuania would like to
have troops from a larger and more experienced NATO ally
(e.g., the United States, UK, Netherlands, or Denmark) to
raise the PRT's security comfort level.
Â¶6. (C) NATO needs more countries to lead PRTs. The GOL
thinks that, in principal, participating in -- and maybe even
leading -- a PRT would be a good thing. But it has concerns
and questions that need to be answered before a
political-level decision is made to commit. To answer these
questions, the GOL is involved in an intensive
information-gathering process on what such a Mission
involves. Post appreciates the guidance Washington has
provided already; the quick responses we have been able to
provide here have improved our chances of enlisting the GOL.
We'll probably be back with more questions from the
Lithuanians before they sign on the dotted line.