Viewing cable 05VILNIUS395
Title: YOUR VILNIUS VISIT: REWARDING THE LOYAL AND

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05VILNIUS3952005-04-13 14:49:00 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 000395 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR THE SECRETARY FROM AMBASSADOR MULL; DEPT FOR EUR; 
NSC FOR AMBASSADOR FRIED 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/14/2010 
TAGS: PREL OVIP LH
SUBJECT: YOUR VILNIUS VISIT: REWARDING THE LOYAL AND 
CALMING THE WATERS 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Steve Mull; Reason 1.4 (b), (d) 
 
Summary 
------- 
 
¶1.  (C) Your bilateral program in Vilnius during the NATO 
Ministerial will score important advances in keeping this 
loyal ally in Iraq and Afghanistan, highlight our joint 
efforts for a democratic Belarus, and set the stage for a 
successful U.S.-Baltic summit in Riga next month.  It will 
also help support more constructive Lithuanian-Russian 
relations following recent turbulence.  I recommend you 
concentrate on five key themes: 
 
--Gratitude for Lithuania's ambitious activism on our common 
interests, especially in standing up a PRT in Afghanistan and 
committing to keep troops in Iraq in 2006; 
 
--Appreciation for Lithuania's success in establishing itself 
as a democracy, and welcoming its commitment to continue to 
improve tolerance; 
 
--Encouragement of Lithuania's missionary work in supporting 
democracy from Belarus through Ukraine to the southern 
Caucasus states; 
 
--Respect for President Adamkus's decision against attending 
May 9 ceremonies in Moscow, while urging Baltic harmony and 
the importance of constructive relations with Russia; and 
 
--Emphasis on our determination to work with Lithuania and 
others in the Visa Waiver Roadmap process. 
 
Welcome Back! 
------------- 
 
¶2.  (C) Madam Secretary, the entire U.S. Mission joins me in 
warmly welcoming you back to Vilnius for the NATO Informal 
Ministerial April 20-21.  Since your last visit with 
President Bush in November 2002, Lithuania has undergone a 
convulsive period of internal political drama featuring seven 
elections, three presidents, two governments and parliaments 
and Europe's first presidential impeachment.  Against this 
turbulent backdrop, the country in the last year celebrated 
its epochal accessions to NATO and the European Union, posted 
continuing explosive economic growth and launched a wave of 
diplomatic activism enthusiastically supportive of U.S. 
global objectives.  Lithuania hosts $352 million in U.S. 
direct investment, mostly in food processing, real estate and 
wholesale/retail operations.  Additionally, the hundreds of 
Lithuanian-Americans who live here (including President 
Valdas Adamkus, a former EPA administrator from Chicago) play 
a prominent role in public, commercial and religious life. 
 
Foreign Policy Consensus and Activism 
------------------------------------- 
 
¶3.  (C) Lithuania's internal political acrimony sometimes 
obscures the broad political consensus that has guided its 
foreign policy since regaining independence from the Soviet 
Union in 1991.  Its tenets are simple: strong support for the 
transatlantic bond; integration with western political and 
economic institutions; and promotion of democracy throughout 
the former Soviet Union.  In recent years, that consensus has 
powered an ambitious foreign policy that consistently 
projects beyond Lithuania's diminutive size.  It has had 
troops on the ground in Iraq for two years (currently 115), 
and vowed on April 12 to keep them there into 2006.  It 
readily answered our plea to lead a Provincial Reconstruction 
Team in Ghowr province, Afghanistan beginning this summer. 
It has provided a vast array (for its size) of support to the 
developing states in the South Caucasus in military, 
governance and diplomatic spheres.  Closer to home, it is 
proud of his strong activism in support of democracy in 
Ukraine, where President Adamkus served as a co-mediator of 
the election crisis last fall.  On Belarus, Lithuania 
recently granted asylum to the European Humanitarian 
University that Minsk had closed down, and plans to support 
it as a mecca for a democratic student movement and possibly 
a source for independent broadcasting into Belarus.  Its 
parliament has formed a Belarus action group to promote broad 
ties with democratic forces in Belarus, and its government 
actively pressures the EU for more resources in support of 
the democracy movement. 
 
¶4.  (C) Although increasingly focused on the requirements of 
European Union membership, a special relationship with the 
United States remains Lithuania's most prized foreign policy 
asset.  It maintains an extraordinarily close intelligence 
liaison relationship with us, has been completely responsive 
to our requests in the Global War on Terrorism, and is 
careful to coordinate all of its foreign policy initiatives 
with us. 
 
Tensions with Russia 
-------------------- 
 
¶5.  (C) Lithuania's already complicated relations with Russia 
have grown especially problematic in the past year. 
Lithuania has expelled five Russian diplomats for espionage 
in the past 14 months, and various political leaders have 
increasingly warned of Russian efforts to infiltrate the 
parliament and government.  Tensions grew in the wake of 
Adamkus's decision to decline Moscow's invitation to WWII 
commemorative ceremonies on May 9, especially when the local 
Russian Ambassador in response publicly called Lithuanians "a 
rabble of anti-Russian scandalmongers" and threatened a 
cutoff of energy supplies.  Meanwhile, since the new year, 
emotive charges that Foreign Minister Valionis and State 
Security Department Chief Pocius had obscured Soviet-era KGB 
links pushed up the temperature even further.  A 
parliamentary commission absolved both, but some dissatisfied 
members of parliament have launched a hunger strike demanding 
their resignations. 
 
¶6.  (C) Valionis traveled to Moscow April 8 for a quickly 
scheduled meeting with Lavrov in a successful attempt to put 
relations on a more constructive footing.  Valionis told me 
April 12 that Lavrov had: instructed his Ambassador in 
Vilnius to cease all public activity until further notice; 
committed to positive and constructive Russian participation 
at the Vilnius NATO events; promised renewed attention to 
Lithuanian requests for more favorable tariff treatment of 
Russian exports through Lithuanian ports and repatriation of 
Lithuanian deposits in Russian banks; agreed to discuss all 
future espionage cases and expulsions out of the public 
light; and expressed complete understanding for Lithuania's 
not coming to Moscow May 9.  In return, Valionis declared 
Lithuania's commitment to constructive relations with Russia, 
announced a temporary moratorium on efforts to seek Russian 
compensation for the Soviet annexation of Lithuania, and 
privately agreed to stop all Lithuanian government comments 
about the local Russian Ambassador's inflammatory remarks. 
 
Baltic Squabbling 
----------------- 
 
¶7.  (C) The May 9 controversy also caused some crankiness in 
relations among the Baltic states.  Adamkus bitterly 
complains in private that by going to Moscow, Vike-Freiberga 
shattered Baltic unity and is attempting to cast Latvia as 
the Baltic leader (undermining Lithuania's own ambition to 
claim that mantle.)  In response, Lithuania worked closely 
with Estonia in announcing a joint decision to boycott the 
Moscow events, and then launched a crude campaign to move the 
venue of the proposed summit from Riga to Tallinn (without 
coordinating with Estonia).  In the end, Adamkus welcomed the 
invitation to meet President Bush and his Baltic colleagues 
in Riga, but he is still angling for a private session with 
President Bush. 
 
Bilateral Relations 
------------------- 
 
¶8.  (C) The U.S. Mission works hard to keep Lithuania on 
board with our broad global agenda.  Internally, we support 
efforts to restitute Jewish property confiscated during the 
Holocaust, promote tolerance of minorities, and assist local 
law enforcement capabilities in the battle against terrorism, 
corruption and WMD smuggling.  The only blot on an otherwise 
rosy bilateral relationship is widespread public disaffection 
with U.S. visa requirements.  The discontent has its roots in 
the 30 percent refusal rate for tourist visa applicants that 
results from Lithuanian proclivities for illegal work in the 
United States and overstaying visas.  President Bush's 
announcement of the Visa Waiver Roadmap initiative in 
February was widely popular here -- your reiteration of it 
during your visit will contribute to your visit's success. 
 
Your Schedule 
------------- 
 
¶9.  (C) In your ride from the airport to the Presidency with 
Foreign Minister Valionis, I recommend you pay tribute to his 
energetic efforts in support of democracy in the former 
Soviet Union, particularly in Belarus and the South Caucasus; 
welcome his government's strong commitment to lead the 
Afghanistan PRT and to maintain troops in Iraq in 2006; and 
hear his preview of the Ministerial. 
 
¶10.  (C) President Adamkus in his meeting with you will want 
to: 
 
--spell out Lithuania's plans for continuing its support of 
democracy throughout the former Soviet Union, especially in 
Belarus; 
 
--review Lithuania's operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
 
--discuss Lithuanian concerns about Russia, and especially 
hear a report on your just-concluded visit there; 
 
--hear the latest plans for the Riga Summit, and possibly 
express his interest in a private meeting with the President; 
and 
 
--seek reassurance that the U.S. understands his decision not 
to go to Moscow on May 9. 
 
¶11.  (C) Your meeting with the Belarusian opposition in 
conjunction with Foreign Minister Valionis will give 
prominence to President Bush's commitment to spread 
democracy, and energize even great Lithuanian activism in 
this direction, both bilaterally and through the European 
Union. 
 
Themes 
------ 
 
¶12.  (C) Focusing on the following themes in your meetings 
and in the press will help ensure your visit's success: 
 
--Gratitude for Lithuania's ambitious activism on our common 
interests, especially in standing up a PRT in Afghanistan and 
committing to keep troops in Iraq in 2006; 
 
--Appreciation for Lithuania's success in establishing itself 
as a democracy, and welcoming its commitment to continue to 
improve tolerance; 
 
--Encouragement of Lithuania's missionary work in supporting 
democracy from Belarus through Ukraine to the southern 
Caucasus states; 
 
--Respect for President Adamkus's decision against attending 
May 9 ceremonies in Moscow, while urging Baltic harmony and 
the importance of constructive relations with Russia; and 
 
--Emphasis on our determination to work with Lithuania and 
others in Visa Waiver Roadmap process. 
 
Your Team 
--------- 
 
¶13. I am also grateful for your willingness to meet and greet 
this Mission's employees and their families.  It is my good 
fortune to lead a talented, dedicated staff of 175 Lithuanian 
and American employees.  They are all thrilled with the 
prospect of meeting you next week. 
Mull