Viewing cable 06VILNIUS135

06VILNIUS1352006-02-10 15:54:00 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 000135 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/09/2016 
Classified By: Political-Economic Officer Nancy A, Cohen 
 ¶1.  (U) Summary.  Lithuania intends to hold a high-profile 
"Summit of the Communities for Democratic Choice" May 4-5 in 
Vilnius.  GOL conference organizers are aiming high, hoping 
to build momentum towards democracy among transitional 
countries in the former Soviet Union.  They plan to convene 
heads of state or other high-level representatives from 
Ukraine, Moldova, and Bulgaria, as well as the Baltic, 
Caucasus, and EU countries, and claim that many have already 
indicated they will attend.  The Government may invite 
Russian participants as well.  The GOL hopes that the summit 
will nudge the European Union to be more proactive in helping 
the EU's neighbors to tack more assertively toward the West. 
The Summit provides an opportunity to promote our core 
objective of encouraging the spread of democracy in the 
region.  We believe it deserves USG support, including 
high-level participation, which could help the GOL attract 
significant officials from Western Europe.  End Summary. 
Goal: Embracing Europe's Eastern Frontier 
¶2. (U) MFA Political Director Zygimantas Pavilionis told the 
Ambassador January 23 that Lithuania intends to convene a 
Summit of European leaders May 4-5 to hold a strategic policy 
debate on how to promote democracy in the East.  Lithuania, 
Pavilionis said, would like the European Union to adopt a 
more proactive neighborhood policy.  This would include more 
EU money and technical assistance for strategic partnerships 
with countries that assertively express interest in the West. 
 The GOL sees the Summit as an opportunity to push the EU in 
this direction, and hopes the discussion will accelerate 
further EU expansion. 
¶3. (C) Pavilionis said that the EU has ignored the 
Communities for Democratic Choice (CDC) to date, except to 
demarche the GOL twice to chastise the President for having 
gotten ahead of EU policy makers by participating in last 
August's meeting in Ukraine that launched the organization. 
The PolDir confided that, until now, the CDC has been a 
public relations exercise without content.  At the Summit, 
Pavilionis anticipates discussion on how to take advantage of 
pro-democratic inclinations in the East. 
Participation: Casting a Wide Net 
¶4. (C) The GOL sees the conference taking on an expanded 3 
3 format.  For now, they anticipate attendees from the three 
Baltic states, the three Caucasus, EU aspirants, and EU 
presidency (current and future), plus neighborhood friends 
like Poland, the United States, and perhaps Germany.  Tomas 
Gulbinas, head of the MFA's EU Common Foreign and Security 
Policy Division, claimed that EU HR Javier Solana had already 
informed the GOL of his intention to participate in Summit, 
as had the heads of state of Austria, Ukraine, Moldova, and 
the Caucasus countries.  (We are in the process of confirming 
this independently with local Embassies.)  The Lithuanians 
are wrestling with whether to include Turkey (fearing that 
doing so will alienate Armenia), and are also considering an 
invitation to Russia, to demonstrate to the Kremlin that the 
spread of democracy on its borders is a positive development, 
not a threat. 
¶5. (C) Lithuania hoped to interest a European partner in 
co-hosting the conference in order to secure the EU's 
imprimatur for the event, but the Europeans appear 
unconvinced.  In Berlin January 26, the Germans were cool to 
Pavilionis's pitch that they co-host.  (We had previously 
heard that Poland would co-host the event, but the GOL has 
since determined there is a greater need to get Western 
European buy-in.)  In subsequent discussions in Munich 
February 3 with Lithuania's FM Valionis, German FM 
Frank-Walter Steinmeier confirmed the GOG's interest and 
support for the conference, but said that Chancellor Merkel's 
schedule would not allow her to attend.  Pavilionis looks for 
the United States to play a central role in the conference, 
with full participant status, to highlight the transatlantic 
dimension of the EU's neighborhood strategy.  He also said he 
hopes the USG will encourage others to participate. 
The Neighborhood Writ Large 
¶6. (U) Responding to the Ambassador's questions about the 
structure and scope of the CDC, Pavilionis said that the May 
meeting will help determine that, but that the immediate need 
is to provide content.  He could see the scope of discussions 
and participation to include Central Asian members of the 
former Soviet Union.  Pavilionis was insistent, however, that 
the organization will not simply become a band of "Che 
Guevaras;" they are discussing how best to include Russia and 
to demonstrate that expansion of democracy is in the GOR's 
¶7. (C) Lithuania and others want to inspire the European 
Union toward a more activist, avowedly pro-democracy 
neighborhood policy.  The Lithuanians understand, however, 
that they need help to raise EU awareness of the issue. 
Germany's reticence to assume a leadership role for the 
Summit was a disappointment, but the GOL will keep looking 
for a larger country in Western Europe to fill that role. 
They recognize that without the active engagement of the EU's 
larger states, the EU is unlikely to play a significant role 
in promoting democracy in the former Soviet Union. 
¶8. (C) The USG can and should help.  Lithuania's Neighborhood 
agenda tracks our own -- from providing constructive support 
for democratic forces in Belarus to maintaining stable 
relations with Russia.  Our announcement of high-level 
participation will raise the pressure on big EU member states 
to match our level of representation -- which in turn will 
increase the chances that the Summit succeeds in encouraging 
democratic development on Europe's eastern flank.