UNCLAS VILNIUS 000157
DEPT FOR EUR/NB, CA/P - DHEIEN AND JWECHSLER
ALSO FOR CA/VO/F/P - EPATTERSON AND CKAGARISE
FRANKFURT FOR RSC - RCO RBROWN
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CMGT CVIS PREL LH
SUBJECT: CONSULAR WORKING GROUP DISCUSSES PROGRESS ON LITHUANIA'S
VISA WAIVER ROADMAP
REFS: A) PATTERSON-FELLOWS E-MAIL DATED 1-30-06, B) 05 VILNIUS 1275
(NOTAL), C) 05 VILNIUS 1242 (NOTAL), D) 05 VILNIUS 1226 (NOTAL), E)
05 STATE 208035 (NOTAL)
Â¶1. The joint GOL-Embassy Consular Working Group (CWG) met at Embassy
request on February 8, 2006. Attendees included the Foreign
Ministry's Consular Department Director Vaidotas Verba, Deputy
Director Petras Anusas, and Consular Attache Marijus Petrusonis, as
well as the Consul, both Vice Consuls and the Public Affairs
Counselor from the Embassy.
Â¶2. The first item on the agenda was a review of the Rice-Chertoff
Vision. After the U.S. side explained the initiative and post's
efforts to publicize it, MFA interlocutors expressed interest in
learning more about the Business Visa Center, digital video visa
interviews, and paperless visa applications. Conoffs explained the
currently experimental nature of the latter two initiatives.
Â¶3. CWG members planned the coming months of Visa Waiver Roadmap
public outreach (ref D). Both sides agreed that targeting
working-age Lithuanians is crucial, and decided to focus on regional
centers with media outlets to maximize exposure, beginning with
another "Roadshow" event in one of these cities within the next
Â¶4. Post used this opportunity to inform the MFA of the Department of
Homeland Security request (ref A) that lost and stolen passport data
be reported both via Interpol and directly to the USG via post.
After learning that the Government of Estonia has recently supplied
this information, the MFA agreed to again approach the Ministry of
Interior, which has primacy in this issue, about supplying the
necessary information to the USG as well as Interpol.
Â¶5. Consul also reviewed results to date of our current validation
study (ref B), and Vice Consul briefed the group on the results of a
post-funded national public opinion poll carried out last November.
A number of survey questions provided useful background data on
recent Lithuanian travel patterns and desired destinations, as well
as the prevalence of illegal work and stays in the United States.
The statistically significant poll concluded that Lithuanians
continue to view America as a preferred work and tourist
destination. (Encouragingly, far more respondents identified EU
countries, some of which do not require work visas or permits of
Lithuanians, as preferred work destinations.)
Â¶6. COMMENT: The meeting was relaxed and collegial. We construe this
as evidence of the positive working relationship with the MFA
Consular Department and of the realistic, non-politicized view that
our interlocutors take towards the Visa Waiver Roadmap. Though they
did not raise it at this time, Consular Department officials
continue to inquire about training/consultations in the United
States for GOL personnel (refs C and E).