Viewing cable 05VILNIUS657
Title: LITHUANIA ON BOARD FOR IRAQ IN 2006

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05VILNIUS6572005-06-22 14:39:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 SECRET Embassy Vilnius
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 000657 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR PM/ISO, PM/RSAT, PM/PMAT, NEA/I, EAP AND EUR/NB 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/21/2015 
TAGS: MARR MOPS PREL IZ LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIA ON BOARD FOR IRAQ IN 2006 
 
REF: A. SECSTATE 111082 (NOTAL) 
 
     ¶B. TITOLO/JACKSON E-MAIL 06/21/05 
 
Classified By: Political/Economic Officer Alexander Titolo for reasons 
1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
¶1.  (S) SUMMARY: President Valdas Adamkus, Foreign Minister 
Antanas Valionis, and Defense Minister Gediminas Kirkilas 
told the Ambassador in separate meetings that they fully 
expect Lithuania to remain part of the Coalition in Iraq 
(MNF-I) and Lithuanian personnel to be on the ground in Iraq 
in 2006.  The Ambassador thanked the GOL leadership for 
Lithuania's steady contribution to freedom and democracy in 
Iraq, and he previewed the strategic vision for the future. 
The President and the Ministers were receptive to the idea of 
shifting the emphasis of MNF-I's efforts to building Iraqi 
capacity and supported in principle the idea of embedding 
MNF-I forces within Iraqi units contingent on answers to 
certain technical questions.  Barring unforeseeable events, 
the MNF-I mission will likely continue to enjoy broad support 
in Lithuania.  Given the GOL's resolute commitment to the 
mission in Iraq, the prospects for continued Lithuanian 
participation in MNF-I through 2006 are excellent.  END 
SUMMARY. 
 
¶2.  (S) Foreign Minister Antanas Valionis told the Ambassador 
on June 20 that Lithuania's involvement in the Iraq coalition 
is "going smoothly," and there is "no big discussion 
internally" challenging the current policy.  Valionis said 
that only Lithuanian troops suffering significant casualties 
could lead to a withdrawal from Iraq.  Under such a scenario, 
he said, "things could change quickly."  Valionis stated that 
Lithuania's troops will come home as soon as they have 
fulfilled their mission of building a democratic and secure 
Iraq.  He expressed hope that the drafting of an Iraqi 
constitution will be an important step in this process. 
 
¶3.  (S) President Adamkus was equally upbeat when he met the 
Ambassador June 20, but pressed for details about the command 
structure for embedded MNF-I units/individuals.  He said it 
would be impossible to defend to Parliament a plan that would 
subordinate Lithuanian troops to Iraqi commanders.  Adamkus 
said that, these concerns aside, the USG can expect Lithuania 
to stay in Iraq through 2006.  (PM/ISO (ref b) confirmed 
plans for "parallel" lines of command and noted that the 
intention is for MNF-I forces to mentor the Iraqis, not 
command or report to them.  We will convey this information 
to President Adamkus and others in the GOL at the soonest 
opportunity.)  Adamkus observed that there has been little 
domestic controversy over the Iraq mission, and said he 
expects this will remain the case. 
 
¶4.  (S) The Ambassador, accompanied by his British 
counterpart, delivered reftel points to Defense Minister 
Gediminas Kirkilas and Chief of Defense Major General Valdas 
Tutkus.  Kirkilas noted that the recent parliamentary action 
raising the ceiling for personnel deployable to foreign 
operations through the end of 2006 provided the GOL the 
authorization and flexibility it needs to extend Lithuania's 
commitment in Iraq.  Kirkilas explained that a "gentleman's 
agreement" compels him to notify the President, the Prime 
Minister, and Parliamentary leaders that the GOL plans to 
commit to MNF-I for 2006, but noted he foresees no obstacle 
or objection to continuing Lithuanian participation in the 
mission.  He characterized opposition to Lithuania's presence 
in Iraq as all but non-existent.  Kirkilas said he believes 
the formation of an Iraqi government illustrates that the 
Coalition is making progress in Iraq.  Drafting a 
constitution, he said, is the next important step. 
 
¶5.  (S) Major General Tutkus confirmed that the GOL intends 
to consolidate its presence in Iraq, merging under Danish 
authority the platoon-size Lithuanian units currently 
reporting to the Polish and Danish commands.  Tutkus said 
that the GOL would not, however, move its officers at the UK 
regional command.  Kirkilas and Tutkus also said that the GOL 
is considering increasing its contribution to the Iraq 
training mission from four to 10 trainers. 
 
¶6.  (S) The MOD's International Relations Director Alvydas 
Kunigelis requested additional detail on plans to embed MNF-I 
forces with Iraqis, and stressed the need for close mil-mil 
cooperation on this issue.  His specific concern, which he 
said is shared throughout the military, is that Lithuanian 
soldiers lack experience to serve in training roles.  We 
assured Kunigelis that we believe the experience the 
Lithuanian troops have gained in Iraq can be very useful to 
Iraqis. 
 
¶7.  (S) COMMENT: Lithuania's leadership, in this and previous 
governments, has consistently maintained a political 
commitment to Coalition goals in Iraq -- and backed it up 
with troops.  The Ambassador's consultations this week with 
Lithuania's three top foreign policy and security leaders 
indicate that this steadfastness remains rock-solid. 
Mull