UNCLAS VILNIUS 000162
STATE FOR EUR/NB AND CA/VO
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CVIS PREL LH
SUBJECT: VISA WAIVER PROGRAM: LITHUANIA PREFERS
CONSULTATIONS TO FORMAL ROADMAP
REFS: A. STATE 26010
Â¶B. VILNIUS 139
Â¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On February 17, Charge discussed with MFA
representatives Lithuania's progress in conforming to Visa
Waiver Program (VWP) regulations as part of a "roadmap"
initiative (ref A). He cautioned that accession to VWP
would likely not occur in the immediate future. GOL
representatives said that they prefer a process of action-
oriented consultations rather than a formal, high-level
roadmap agreement. They specifically expressed interest in
arranging a visit for GOL consular officials to the United
States for consultations on biometric security features and
to observe "customer service" elements of USG consular
training. The GOL understands that VWP accession will be a
slow process, and wants to avoid raising public expectations
at this time. We intend to continue work with the GOL on a
substance-focused agenda. A visit by Lithuanian consular
officials to the United States would maintain the positive
momentum in our bilateral consular relationship that
originated from Assistant Secretary Harty's visit (ref B).
Â¶2. (SBU) Charge and conoff met with Sarunas Adomavicius, MFA
Undersecretary, and Vaidotas Verba, Director of the MFA's
Consular Department, on February 17 to discuss Lithuanian
efforts to meet the legislative requirements for possible
entry into the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) (ref A). Charge
communicated USG willingness to offer the GOL a roadmap of
reciprocal steps along the lines of the Polish agreement.
He cautioned that legislative requirements for the VWP would
not change, however, and that the country's relatively high
refusal rate suggests that Lithuania will not manage to join
the VWP in the immediate future.
Â¶3. (SBU) Adomavicius and Verba emphasized that the GOL does
not want to push the issue at the "political level" for fear
of unnecessarily raising domestic expectations. Verba said
that he would therefore like to avoid a "formal" roadmap
agreement, which, he opined, could not include a timetable,
and instead continue a process of consultations. The GOL,
they suggested, could then keep the public informed of
ongoing progress, perhaps with a substantive statement timed
for the Secretary's prospective visit to Vilnius in April.
Â¶4. (SBU) Both interlocutors stressed the GOL's willingness
to increase cooperative efforts with the USG to help
accelerate Lithuania's accession to the VWP. Verba
confirmed GOL interest in sending consular officials to the
United States for consultations on biometric security
features and to observe "customer service" elements of USG
consular training. Charge pledged to help arrange such a
visit, and Verba said he would present a detailed proposal
in the coming weeks.
Â¶5. (SBU) COMMENT: The GOL, at least the MFA, is hesitant to
pursue formal, high-level discussions on the VWP.
Lithuanian officials understand that VWP accession will not
come immediately, and therefore do not want to raise public
expectations. Instead, they hope to make substantive,
working-level progress on consular issues to pave the way
for VWP accession as soon as possible. We will continue to
work with the GOL to help it meet all the technical
requirements for the VWP and encourage the proper use of
U.S. visas by its citizens. We believe a visit by
Lithuanian consular officials as envisioned by Verba is good
way to launch the results-oriented consular dialogue that
A/S Harty emphasized during her visit to Vilnius last month.
We will help arrange the trip as soon as possible.