Viewing cable 07VILNIUS511
Title: LITHUANIA DECIDES TO KEEP PLATOON IN IRAQ, WILL

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
07VILNIUS5112007-07-12 07:27:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
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O 120727Z JUL 07
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1433
INFO RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW IMMEDIATE 2494
RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW IMMEDIATE 3657
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO IMMEDIATE 1563
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/10/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV MOPS MARR IZ LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIA DECIDES TO KEEP PLATOON IN IRAQ, WILL 
SEND TWO MINISTERS TO WASHINGTON 
 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN CLOUD FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 
 
¶1. (C) Summary:  On July 9, President Adamkus told the 
Ambassador that Lithuania will meet its commitments in Iraq. 
He explained that decisions by the Danes and the British to 
reduce their presence in MNF-southeast forced the Lithuanians 
to do some restructuring of their presence. President Adamkus 
has instructed Foreign Minister Vaitiekunas and Defense 
Minister Olekas to travel to Washington as soon as possible 
in order to determine next steps for the Lithuanian combat 
platoon in Iraq.  Adamkus acknowledged that Defense Minister 
Olekas has opposed the continued presence of Lithuania,s 
combat platoon in Iraq.  According to Adamkus, Olekas,s 
opposition was for purely domestic political reasons. 
 
¶2. (C) Summary continued.  The visit of the Ministers to 
Washington provides the USG with the opportunity to impress 
upon them the importance of their maintaining the combat 
platoon in Iraq (with either the Poles or the British) as 
well as contributing to MNF-I staffs and training missions. 
The Ministers will look for U.S. support on several other 
issues.  Olekas remains difficult on the issue and will use 
any ambivalence on our part to reduce dramatically 
Lithuania,s presence in Iraq.  End Summary. 
 
¶3. (C) On July 9, President Adamkus briefed the Ambassador on 
the results of the July 5 State Defense Council (President, 
PM, Foreign Minister, Defense Minister, CHOD, and Security 
Service chief) meeting on Iraq.  President Adamkus said 
Lithuania remained committed in Iraq at least through the end 
of this year.  (The Lithuanian parliament recently extended 
the Government,s authority to deploy forces in Iraq for 
three more years.  The Government has yet to act to extend 
the mandate beyond the end of this year.)  Adamkus said that 
the decisions by the British and Danes to downsize their 
presence in MNF-Southeast have forced the Lithuanians to 
restructure their presence.  He believes it would be useful 
for the Foreign and Defense Ministers to travel to Washington 
to consult with appropriate high level USG officials on 
Lithuania,s presence in Iraq.  Adamkus confirmed that 
Defense Minister Olekas has been opposed to maintaining their 
combat platoon in Iraq.  However, Adamkus said he had decided 
to keep a platoon there at least for the rest of their 
mandate. 
 
¶4. (C) The GOL has made several missteps on Iraq over the 
past several months.  Defense Minister Olekas used the 
announcement of the British and Danish downsizing of their 
mission in MNF-Southeast to call publicly for the withdrawal 
of Lithuania,s combat platoon from the region.  (The Danish 
downsizing in particular required a Lithuanian response given 
that Lithuania was 100% dependent on the Danes for logistical 
support.)  While the President,s office, the PM,s office, 
and the Foreign Ministry at the time all said that Olekas was 
freelancing, they have allowed Olekas to continue to press 
this line.  When the British initially proposed a series of 
modest missions for the Lithuanians, the CHOD jumped on 
options involving training and staff augmentation rather than 
force protection as being solid and low-risk means to 
reaching transformation goals. 
 
¶5. (C) Unlike his predecessor, current PM Kirkilas, Olekas is 
more focused on domestic politics than on the alliance with 
the U.S.  In addition, Olekas unsuccessfully challenged 
Kirkilas for the position as Social Democratic party chairman 
in May.  In reality, Olekas would have preferred to 
consolidate Lithuanian combat operations in Afghanistan and 
might have considered a combat commitment there in addition 
to the 50-member SOF team that is deploying in the next two 
weeks.  Since the spring, Olekas has misread requests from 
Washington for additional staff support as acquiescence on 
our part to the removal of the combat platoon.  While the 
Embassy and DASDs Cagan and Fata have pushed back on this 
misinterpretation, the recent letter from DepSecDef and calls 
from the Poles at high level have forced the GOL to reassess 
their future presence in Iraq.  We understand that the 
President, the PM, and the Foreign Minister support assigning 
a Lithuanian combat platoon to work with the Poles in the 
Multinational Division Center South. 
 
¶6. (C) The Ministers are being sent to Washington to find out 
what we want.  MFA Under Secretry Pavilionis told the 
Ambassador July 11 that the Ministers will also want to 
discuss:  1) possible increased US foreign assistance and 
Afghan central government involvement in Ghor Province where 
Lithuania runs the PRT; 2) Lithuanian concerns regarding the 
Adapted CFE Treaty; 3) Lithuanian concerns regarding Russian 
efforts within NATO for a military transit agreement through 
Lithuania to Kaliningrad; 4) the NATO air policing mission in 
the Baltics; and 5) upcoming GOL conferences on energy 
security and defense in the Adriatic-Baltic region.   The 
Ministers will be hoping for U.S. support on the above 
issues, on many of which -- e.g., revised CFE -- we are in 
complete agreement with them. 
CLOUD