Viewing cable 06VILNIUS42
Title: CODEL SENSENBRENNER DISCUSSES VISA WAIVER PROGRAM

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06VILNIUS422006-01-18 13:40:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED 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 000042 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/NB, CA/VO AND H 
 
H PLEASE PASS TO CONGRESSMAN SENSENBRENNER 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL CVIS OVIP LH
SUBJECT: CODEL SENSENBRENNER DISCUSSES VISA WAIVER PROGRAM 
IN LITHUANIA 
 
¶1.  Summary:  Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner, Chairman 
of the House Judiciary Committee, discussed Lithuania's Visa 
Waiver Program (VWP) prospects and expressed U.S. 
appreciation for Lithuania's support in Iraq, Afghanistan 
and elsewhere in meetings with President Adamkus and other 
senior officials during his January 10-12 visit to 
Lithuania.  After receiving a briefing on Lithuanian 
passport security, which he pronounced as "among the best in 
the world," and a visit to the Belarus border, the 
congressman praised Lithuania's performance in meeting many 
of the Visa Waiver Program's criteria.  But he also noted 
continuing problems with a high visa refusal rate for 
Lithuanians.  While stating that the USG would not change 
its visa waiver laws to accommodate foreign policy concerns, 
he said Lithuania would receive positive consideration for 
inclusion in the program when it meets the program's legal 
requirements.  The Congressman's visit afforded an excellent 
opportunity to keep the Lithuanian government and public 
focused on the Visa Waiver Roadmap for Lithuania.  End 
Summary. 
 
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Congressman Sensenbrenner's Message 
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¶2.  Congressman Sensenbrenner traveled with Judiciary 
Committee Chief of Staff Philip Kiko to Vilnius January 10- 
12 for meetings with President Adamkus, Prime Minister 
Brazauskas, Parliamentary Speaker Paulauskas, Interior 
Minister Furmanavicius and senior consular officials at the 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 
 
¶3. Congressman Sensenbrenner's consistent message on the VWP 
was that the United States has not considered and will not 
consider foreign policy when determining participation in 
the VWP.  He acknowledged that Lithuanian and Polish 
visitors to the United States would not compromise homeland 
security.  At the same time, Rep. Sensenbrenner argued 
that granting VWP to those countries on political grounds 
would compel the USG to grant it to Kuwait, which he said is 
doing "just as much" for U.S. interests in the war on terror 
but because of national security considerations "cannot" be 
allowed to get VWP status. 
 
¶4.  The Congressman urged Lithuania to follow through on the 
Visa Waiver Roadmap established last year to help it meet 
the VWP's legal criteria.  Commenting on one of these 
criteria, he complimented Lithuania on its efforts to 
produce secure identity documents, including incorporation 
of biometrics, stating that Lithuania has some of the most 
secure documents in the world.  On another of the criteria, 
he emphasized that the visa application refusal rate must 
decline dramatically before Lithuania can be considered for 
inclusion in the VWP.  In anticipation of Lithuania's 
planned accession to the Schengen Accord next year, he also 
sought to evaluate the availability to Lithuanian law 
enforcement of EU data on lost and stolen passports and mala 
fide travelers.  The Congressman said that when Lithuania 
meets the Visa Waiver Program's requirements, he would be 
confident it would receive positive consideration for 
participation. 
 
¶5.  In his meetings, Rep. Sensenbrenner thanked Lithuania 
for its support of U.S. foreign policy objectives, 
especially in the war on terror.  He commended Lithuania for 
its democratic and economic progress since independence, and 
its role in promoting the same throughout the former Soviet 
Union.  As one of the keynote speakers at a parliamentary 
conference commemorating fifteen years of Lithuanian 
independence, he emphasized these themes as well as U.S. 
support for Lithuania's freedom over the years. 
 
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Lithuanian Reaction 
------------------- 
 
¶6. Lithuanian interlocutors were keen to hear Congressman 
Sensenbrenner's perspective on the VWP.  They confirmed 
their willingness to participate in the VWR, and were quick 
to point out their economic progress, as well as their 
efforts on document security.  They stressed Lithuania's 
support for U.S. foreign policy initiatives and thanked the 
USG for its support on a number of fronts, especially on 
relations with Russia and regional democratization, though 
they understood his message on VWP eligibility. 
 
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Press Coverage 
-------------- 
 
¶7. The Lithuanian press showed considerable interest in 
Congressman Sensenbrenner's visit.  Reporters' questions in 
stand-ups at the Presidency and the Parliament focused on 
the VWP.  Reporting to date in both national and regional 
newspapers has accurately and positively relayed his 
comments regarding the VWP, a subject regularly addressed in 
the Lithuanian press.  Post also arranged for an interview 
with the country's top weekly magazine, Veidas.  The 
interview, also focused on the VWP, is scheduled to appear 
in the magazine's January 19 edition. 
 
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Comment 
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¶8. Congressman Sensenbrenner's visit and message afforded an 
excellent opportunity to keep the Lithuanian public focused 
on the Visa Waiver Roadmap and encouraged the GOL to 
continue its domestic efforts to meet VWP criteria.  The 
unequivocal and consistent message also relayed support for 
our joint efforts with the GOL to meet legal criteria rather 
than dwell on political considerations. 
 
¶9. CODEL Sensenbrenner did not have an opportunity to clear 
this message. 
MULL