Viewing cable 05VILNIUS276
Title: VISA WAIVER PROGRAM: LITHUANIA ACCEPTS ROADMAP,

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05VILNIUS2762005-03-16 14:28:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Vilnius
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 000276 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
STATE FOR EUR/NB, CA/VO, FSI/SPAS/CON 
WARSAW FOR LAPIASCIK 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: CVIS PREL LH
SUBJECT: VISA WAIVER PROGRAM: LITHUANIA ACCEPTS ROADMAP, 
WANTS CONSULTATIONS IN U.S. 
 
REFS: A. STATE 26010 
 
      ¶B. VILNIUS 162 
      ¶C. VILNIUS 139 
 
¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The GOL, initially hesitant to pursue a 
formal agreement, is now anxious to accept the VWP roadmap 
following the model of other countries in the region.  MFA 
officials remain very interested in arranging U.S. 
consultations, to examine both biometric security and 
"customer service" elements of our consular training, for a 
group of Lithuanian officials.  We stressed that a public 
campaign to discourage visa misuse would be a critical 
element of the roadmap, and the MFA pledged its willingness 
to undertake such an effort, especially in cooperation with 
us.  The MFA would also like the USG to form an official 
Progress Evaluation Team to serve as a review mechanism for 
VWP progress.  The GOL understands that VWP accession will 
not come in the immediate future, but is searching for 
concrete steps, such as consultations in the United States 
on consular issues, to help lay the groundwork and 
demonstrate some progress.  END SUMMARY. 
 
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Lithuania Happy with Roadmap 
---------------------------- 
 
¶2. (SBU) We met with Vaidotas Verba, Director of the MFA's 
Consular Department, on March 8 to discuss Lithuania's 
roadmap for the Visa Waiver Program.  Although the MFA had 
previously expressed a desire to avoid a formal roadmap 
agreement (ref B), Verba said that after further 
deliberations the GOL was now eager to accept a formal 
roadmap in line with other countries in the region (ref A). 
 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
Strong Desire for Biometric and Consular Consultations 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
¶3. (SBU) Verba reiterated GOL interest in arranging a visit 
for Lithuanian officials, likely representatives from both 
the MFA and Interior Ministry, to the United States for 
consultations on biometric security features.  This visit, 
said Verba, should be a key element of the roadmap 
introduction and allow the GOL to present its progress in 
introducing biometric security features for Lithuanian 
passports.  He also confirmed GOL interest in sending 
consular and migration officials to experience "customer 
service" elements of USG consular training. 
 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
Planning for Public Campaign Against Visa Misuse 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
¶4. (SBU) We stressed that a GOL public campaign to 
discourage visa misuse and overstay by Lithuanians would be 
an important element of the roadmap.  Verba responded that 
the GOL was willing to undertake such a campaign, noting 
that the MFA had already released some public statements on 
the issue, but that the entire government still had to 
consider the matter.  He also asked if the Embassy would be 
willing to join a public campaign as a joint effort.  We 
noted our already robust public diplomacy efforts to promote 
proper visa use and said that we would be happy to 
participate with the GOL in joint appearances on this 
subject. 
 
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VWP Review Mechanism 
-------------------- 
 
¶5. (SBU) Noting that the USG-proposed roadmap makes 
reference to a "periodic review" of progress toward the VWP, 
Verba asked if the USG would consider forming an official 
Progress Evaluation Team to make regular visits to Lithuania 
and evaluate progress.  This group, Verba maintained, would 
create a mechanism for VWP review and help convince 
Lithuanian citizens that the process is ongoing.  We 
promised to relay Verba's request, but encouraged him to 
discuss the concept in more detail, including with his 
counterparts from other countries of the region, in order to 
better define the objectives of such a group. 
 
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Roadmap Rollout 
--------------- 
 
¶6. (SBU) Verba said that the GOL was planning a public 
statement to present the roadmap, suggesting that FM 
Valionis might want to do so in conjunction with a U.S. 
official.  Subsequently, on March 15, Verba passed us a 
draft for a Lithuania-specific roadmap agreement, which 
tracked very closely with the document passed to Baltic 
ambassadors in Washington.  However, Lithuania's draft adds 
two points, one describing the formation of a permanent U.S. 
Progress Evaluation Team, and the other stating U.S. 
willingness to explore the possibility of expanding exchange 
programs.  The Lithuanian-drafted document also expands the 
original U.S. offer of "technical advice and assistance" to 
"assistance in training of Lithuanian consular, migration, 
and border officials." 
 
-------------------------------------- 
Comment: Change in Tone, Not Substance 
-------------------------------------- 
 
¶7. (SBU) Although the MFA has reversed its earlier 
reluctance to enter into a formal agreement regarding VWP, 
the substance of the GOL position has not significantly 
changed.  The GOL understands that VWP accession will not 
come in the immediate future.  In the meantime, Lithuanian 
officials want to pursue concrete steps, such as 
consultations in the United States on consular issues, to 
help lay the groundwork.  We appreciate Department's and 
other posts' assistance in developing a consultative program 
in line with Lithuanian and U.S. interests. 
 
MULL