Viewing cable 05VILNIUS609
Title: LITHUANIA DEPLOYS PRT TO AFGHANISTAN; WILL NEED

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05VILNIUS6092005-06-10 14:03:00 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 02 VILNIUS 000609 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE PASS TO EUR/NB, EUR/RPM (SWANDERSON) AND PM/PPA 
(SKWAK) 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/09/2015 
TAGS: MOPS MCAP MARR PREL PGOV LH AF
SUBJECT: LITHUANIA DEPLOYS PRT TO AFGHANISTAN; WILL NEED 
CONTINUED SUPPORT 
 
REF: A. VILNIUS 595 
 
     ¶B. VILNIUS 527 
     ¶C. USDAO VILNIUS IIR 6 938 0041 05 
 
Classified By: Political/Economic Officer Alexander Titolo for reasons 
1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
¶1. (U) SUMMARY:  Intensive U.S. airlift operations in support 
of the Lithuanian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) 
headed to Chaghcharan, Afghanistan, began from Zokniai 
airfield June 6.  This mission is the most ambitious military 
undertaking in modern Lithuania's existence, and it enjoys 
broad official support.  Speaking while visiting Spain, 
President Valdas Adamkus said the PRT "will be our 
contribution to world peace."  U.S. assistance was critical 
in making this deployment a reality.  Continuation of these 
flows -- including through a significant allocation of 
Coalition Solidarity Funds to the GOL -- will be a key 
element in ensuring its success.  END SUMMARY. 
 
---------------------------------- 
GOODBYE VILNIUS, HELLO CHAGHCHARAN 
---------------------------------- 
 
¶2.  (U) Minister of Defense Gediminas Kirkilas and Chief of 
Defense Major General Valdas Tutkus staged an emotional, 
pro-American send-off June 3, which the Ambassador attended. 
Kirkilas paid tribute to Lithuania's partnership with the 
United States, which he said symbolized the trust Lithuania 
has earned in NATO after only one year of membership, and 
commended the special friendship between our country and 
Lithuania.  Both he and Tutkus expressed gratitude for U.S. 
support, which they said was decisive to Lithuania's 
acceptance of the mission.  Kirkilas said that Lithuania 
could take pride in building a secure and democratic 
Afghanistan -- a task that is an integral part of Lithuania's 
strategic interest in expanding the zone of freedom and 
democracy in the world. 
 
¶3.  (SBU) The PRT began deploying on June 6 in sorties on 
U.S. C-17 aircraft from Zokniai air base in northern 
Lithuania.  The seven flights that have departed as of June 
10 comprise approximately half of the total number expected 
to be necessary.  The 109-troop contingent and its equipment 
will complete its move to Afghanistan by June 18 at the 
latest. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
SHORTFALLS WILL NOT ENDANGER INITIAL OPERATIONS 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
¶4. (C) The Commander of the PRT, LTC Gintautas Zenkevicius, 
told DAO (ref C) that he was very satisfied with the U.S. 
support he is receiving.  He hoped that contributions from 
other allies will increase once the PRT is established. (To 
date, only Denmark and Iceland have pledged personnel for the 
PRT.) President Adamkus expressed the same sentiments in 
public comments during his state visit to Spain earlier this 
week.  There are significant personnel shortfalls in the PRT, 
most notably in medical-surgical capability and the number of 
Mobile Liaison Observation Teams.  Zenkevicius said that he 
does not expect these deficits to constrain the initial phase 
of the operation. 
 
¶5.  (SBU) Lithuanian planners are also keenly aware of 
funding constraints on their mission.  MFA Undersecretary 
Dalius Cekuolis expressed the GOL's gratitude to the 
Ambassador on June 9 for the support the USG has provided to 
the PRT.  At the same time, noting the significant resources 
that the GOL had already used to set up the PRT, he stressed 
the budgetary constraints the GOL faces in supporting the 
mission (ref A). 
 
------------------- 
PARLIAMENT SIGNS ON 
------------------- 
 
¶6. (U) A potential domestic roadblock to the PRT that the GOL 
needed to overcome was for Parliament to raise the ceiling on 
the number of troops that can be deployed for international 
missions.  As post reported on May 19 (ref B), Foreign 
Minister Antanas Valionis told the Ambassador that he 
expected speedy passage through Parliament of the necessary 
legislation.  Tutkus expressed equal confidence to the 
Ambassador on June 8, on the eve of the vote.  Tutkus noted 
that the National Security and Defense Committee had 
unanimously approved the draft proposal.  The full Parliament 
approved the resolution June 9 with 76 votes in favor, two 
opposed, and ten abstentions. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
¶7. (C) Cekuolis' fear that the budget-draining Afghanistan 
deployment will compromise other defense priorities, such as 
transformation, is widely shared within the GOL.  The fiscal 
cost and underwhelming contributions to the PRT from other 
allies did not deter the GOL from following through on its 
commitment.  However, these factors underscore for GOL 
leaders the importance of U.S. support, both logistical and 
financial, to the Chaghcharan mission's success.  Continued 
USG assistance will likely be a key factor in determining the 
extent and duration of GOL commitments in Afghanistan and 
elsewhere.  From our perspective, allocation of a significant 
portion of Coalition Solidarity Funds to Lithuania would be 
the best way to demonstrate U.S. support for a prolonged and 
effective Lithuanian presence in Ghowr. 
Kelly