Viewing cable 05VILNIUS58
Title: LITHUANIA'S JUSTICE MINISTER PLEDGES CONTINUITY

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05VILNIUS582005-01-18 15:59:00 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 000058 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
STATE FOR EUR/NB AND EUR/OHI 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV KCOR KNAR PREL LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIA'S JUSTICE MINISTER PLEDGES CONTINUITY 
AND COOPERATION WITH USG 
 
REF: A. VILNIUS 57 
 
     ¶B. 2004 VILNIUS 1548 
     ¶C. 2004 VILNIUS 1546 
 
 ¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Justice Minister Gintautas Buzinskas, 
meeting with Ambassador Mull on January 14, pledged 
continuity in his Ministry and U.S.-Lithuanian cooperation on 
legal issues.  Both sides agreed on the need for additional 
efforts on anti-corruption and counter-terrorism.  The 
Ambassador expressed a desire to fine-tune the bilateral 
Extradition Treaty to bring it in line with U.S.-EU 
legislation.  Ambassador Mull praised the Ministry for its 
constructive efforts on Jewish communal property restitution 
and offered his assistance in progressing further.  Buzinskas 
emphasized that the GOL would not change its policy vis-a-vis 
restitution and that the Ministry would continue its work on 
schedule.  Buzinskas' reassurance is a positive signal that 
the GOL remains committed to restituting Jewish property and 
will not unnecessarily delay the process.  END SUMMARY. 
 
¶2. (SBU) Ambassador Mull met with Gintautas Buzinskas, 
recently confirmed Justice Minister, January 14 as part of 
his tour of Lithuania's new Cabinet (refs A, B, and C). 
Buzinskas pledged continuity in the Ministry's functioning, 
noting that as "only one man at the top" he did not intend to 
overhaul the institution.  He showed trust in his 
subordinates, often yielding the floor to his ViceMinister 
and State Secretary during the meeting, and said that the 
Ministry's "strategic direction" remains the same. 
 
-------------------------------- 
Buzinskas: "Coalition is Stable" 
-------------------------------- 
 
¶3. (SBU) The Ambassador asked Buzinskas, one of the Labor 
Party's five Cabinet ministers, for his insights on the 
functioning of the ruling coalition.  Buzinskas stressed that 
there were no major conflicts within the coalition, 
especially on legal issues.  The government's policy of 
continuity, he said, demonstrated its maturity and the 
stability of the coalition. 
 
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Continuing Cooperation: Visits and Projects 
------------------------------------------- 
 
¶4. (U) The Ambassador emphasized the value of sending Justice 
Ministry officials to the United States for training, 
highlighting the recent trip of ViceMinister Gintaras Svedas, 
who spoke highly of his experience in America.  He encouraged 
Buzinskas to consider a similar visit to the United States in 
the coming months.  Ambassador Mull noted that our priority 
with the Ministry for 2005 would be on assisting with 
anti-corruption measures.  The Ambassador also urged a 
continuation of Embassy-sponsored seminars on topics such as 
IPR, ethics, trafficking in persons, and cyber-crime. 
Buzinskas replied that he perceived cooperation in combating 
corruption and terrorism, "difficult problems that require 
continual attention," as most fruitful. 
 
------------------ 
Extradition Treaty 
------------------ 
 
¶5. (U) Ambassador Mull praised our bilateral Extradition 
Treaty as exemplary and solidly in place, although he 
expressed an intention to fine-tune the treaty in the coming 
months to ensure it is compatible with U.S.-EU agreements. 
ViceMinister Svedas agreed, noting that other bilateral 
agreements might also require some small adjustments due to 
Lithuania's accession to the EU. 
 
--------------------------- 
Jewish Property Restitution 
--------------------------- 
 
¶6. (SBU) Ambassador next raised the restitution of former 
Jewish communal property seized during the Holocaust.  He 
praised the Ministry for its positive role in making progress 
towards a final list of properties, and urged a speedy 
resolution to the restitution issue.  He offered to assist 
the Ministry in its interactions with the international 
Jewish Community and noted that Rabbi Andrew Baker, AJC 
Director for International Jewish Affairs, would be traveling 
to Vilnius later in January to present the latest version of 
the property list. 
 
¶7. (SBU) Buzinskas replied that the new administration would 
not alter Lithuania's position on this issue, and that the 
Justice Ministry would continue its work on the property list 
and draft amendment to the Law on Restitution.  Buzinskas 
also noted that for three years he worked with a German fund 
on compensation to Holocaust victims, gaining valuable 
experience in dealing with the international Jewish community 
and restitution issues. 
 
----------------------------------- 
Comment: No Hiccups for Restitution 
----------------------------------- 
 
¶8. (SBU) Fall Parliamentary elections, and the advent of a 
new government, created some uncertainty regarding the 
restitution of former Jewish communal property.  Viktor 
Uspaskich and his Labor Party, the largest faction in the new 
Parliament, have declined to take a strong stance on the 
issue.  Labor Party stalwart Buzinskas has now made clear to 
us, however, that under his leadership the Ministry of 
Justice will not change course in its work on restitution. 
Although ultimately restitution will depend on a political 
decision taken in Parliament, we can at least be confident 
that administrative delays will not hold the process back. 
We fully expect the Ministry of Justice to continue its 
professional handling of the restitution issue. 
MULL