Viewing cable 06VILNIUS739
Title: LITHUANIA SEEKING TO EXPAND SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06VILNIUS7392006-08-09 09:05:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Vilnius
VZCZCXRO4947
RR RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHYG
DE RUEHVL #0739/01 2210905
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 090905Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0465
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 000739 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL LH AF
SUBJECT: LITHUANIA SEEKING TO EXPAND SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE 
FOR AFGHANISTAN PRT 
 
REF: A. VILNIUS 437 B. VILNIUS 483 
 
VILNIUS 00000739  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
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SUMMARY 
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¶1. (SBU) The GOL recently sponsored a pair of visits between 
Afghanistan and Lithuania aimed at shoring up support in both 
countries for its Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in 
Ghor Province, Afghanistan.  Ghor's Governor and a delegation 
of Afghan parliamentarians came to Vilnius for meetings with 
President Adamkus, Parliamentary Chairman Muntianas, and 
officials from several ministries.  The trip raised local 
awareness of Lithuania's mission in Afghanistan and was also 
a way for Lithuania to build bridges to influential MPs in 
Kabul, who - the Lithuanians believe - pay too little 
attention to the remote Ghor province.  A Lithuanian 
delegation of government, civil society, and business 
representatives followed the parliamentarians back to 
Afghanistan, where they held a series of political meetings 
in Kabul and visited Ghor province in an effort to raise the 
PRT's profile in Afghanistan.  End Summary. 
 
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Shoring up support in Lithuania 
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¶2. (SBU) Both the Afghans' visit to Lithuania and the 
Lithuanians' trip to Afghanistan received broad press 
coverage in Lithuania.  The delegation head, former 
Lithuanian Ambassador to NATO Ginte Damusis, effectively 
managed press coverage to focus positively on what Lithuania 
was doing in Ghor province and Afghanistan's need for 
assistance.  Press conferences followed the Afghan 
delegation's meetings with President Adamkus and 
Parliamentary Chairman Victor Muntianas, as well as officials 
in the defense, interior, and economy ministries. 
 
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Seeking more cash 
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¶3. (SBU) Damusis told the press that the MFA would seek a 
five-fold budget increase, from one million litas to five 
(370,000 to 1.85 million USD), for Lithuania's assistance to 
Afghanistan.  The MFA's request ultimately will rely on the 
Prime Minister's and Seimas's approval, but Damusis told us 
that she wanted to use the visits to get the request out 
publicly in order to bolster public support. 
 
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Trying to raise Ghor's profile on the ground 
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¶4.  (SBU) Damusis told us that the objectives of the 
delegation's visit to Afghanistan were to raise the PRT's 
profile in Afghanistan and to attract more support from 
government structures and NGOs operating elsewhere in 
Afghanistan.  She said that Ghor's isolation and the lack of 
media outlets there meant that few in Afghanistan knew about 
the PRT's activities.  To address these concerns, the Head of 
Lithuania's special mission in Ghor, Ambassador Serksnys, 
will establish a part-time residence in Kabul where he has 
better access to NGOs, Afghan politicians, and, apparently, 
Ghor's Governor who Damusis said spends the majority of his 
time there. 
 
¶5. (SBU) Damusis characterized the visits as successful, 
saying that the parliamentarians have already begun to pay 
more attention to Ghor than before the visits.  NGO activity 
has been harder to encourage, she said, due to the cost of 
working in Ghor and the still-unstable security situation. 
She pointed to the deaths in Ghor of four NGO workers in two 
separate incidents while she was in Afghanistan, although she 
said it was not yet clear if they had been targeted for their 
affiliations, or merely the victims of ordinary crime. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
VILNIUS 00000739  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Finding visible assistance projects 
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¶6. (SBU) Lithuania's primary goal remains security sector 
reform, but Damusis's delegation sought to determine other 
assistance projects that would have more visible impact on 
local communities' infrastructure.  She explained that the 
complete lack of media coverage in Ghor means that the GOL 
gets very little recognition for its important, but less 
visible, work there.  In response to appeals from the Ghor 
Governor's office, Lithuania plans to build 
micro-hydroelectricity plants to serve small communities. 
Lithuania is also considering building a police headquarters 
building. 
 
¶7.  (SBU) Two representatives of Lithuanian NGOs accompanied 
the delegation to explore options to give on-the-ground 
training in the fields of health and education, possibly 
including training midwives.  Another project will bring 
physicians from Ghor to work and study in Kaunas University 
Hospital.  A Lithuanian business representative also 
accompanied the delegation to explore business opportunities 
in Afghanistan (reported septel). 
 
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Still trying to improve police project 
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¶8. (SBU) Improvement of the security sector remains 
Lithuania's primary assistance goal, said Damusis.  She said 
that Lithuania will spend one-third of its assistance budget 
in Afghanistan (300,000 litas - about USD 110,000) to train 
the Afghan National police and donate vehicles, radio sets, 
and basic police equipment.  Lithuania intends to send 
another Lithuanian police advisor to Ghor and again asked 
about the possibility of the USG returning the American 
police advisors who had been working in Ghor until April 2006 
(ref A).  Lithuania is also trying to attract police trainers 
from other countries.  Damusis told us that she has been in 
talks with Ukraine and Latvia about sending a civilian 
contingent of police trainers to the Ghor PRT (ref B). 
 
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Comment 
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¶9. (SBU) Visits like these, which aim at reinforcing support 
for the PRT inside Lithuania while building ties with 
politicians in Kabul, show that Lithuania is looking after 
the long-term success of its mission in Afghanistan.  The 
MFA's request for a dramatic increase in assistance just as 
Lithuania faces the prospects of taking over the costs of the 
military mission in January 2007 is a positive sign that the 
GOL remains committed to its mission in Ghor. 
KELLY