Viewing cable 07VILNIUS542
Title: SCENESETTER FOR THE VISIT OF THE LITHUANIAN

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
07VILNIUS5422007-08-01 08:01:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
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FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1466
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INFO RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 2499
RUEHRA/AMEMBASSY RIGA PRIORITY 3311
RUEHTL/AMEMBASSY TALLINN PRIORITY 6931
RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW PRIORITY 3659
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RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 1568
C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 000542 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR THE DEPUTY SECRETARY FROM AMBASSADOR CLOUD 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/01/2017 
TAGS: OVIP PREL PGOV MOPS MARR IZ LH
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR THE VISIT OF THE LITHUANIAN 
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE MINISTERS 
 
REF: VILNIUS 00511 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John A. Cloud for reasons 1.4(b) and (d). 
 
¶1. (C) As part of President Adamkus's decision to maintain a 
combat platoon on Iraq, he tasked Foreign Minister 
Vaitiekunas and Defense Minister Olekas to travel to 
Washington to discuss Lithuania's role in Iraq.  MNF-Iraq has 
given the Lithuanian military a variety of options and 
promised needed logistical support.  Vaitiekunas supports the 
continued deployment of a platoon.  Olekas has been opposed, 
but has been overruled by President Adamkus.  While the 
Lithuanian Parliament has recently approved a three-year 
extension for their troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, the 
government still needs to extend its formal mandate in Iraq 
beyond December 2007.  So, even though the Lithuanians claim 
to be only talking about a mandate until the end of 2007, 
finding the right role for the combat platoon should keep 
them in place much longer.  However, the visit is as much 
about U.S.-Lithuanian relations as it is about Iraq. 
 
¶2. (C) Lithuania finds itself in the midst of multiple 
transitions each of which sows self doubt and angst.  After 
having achieved its twin goals of membership in NATO and the 
EU in 2004, Lithuania has not developed a consensus on a new 
national goal.  Instead, they are finding that membership in 
both institutions contains obligations as well as 
opportunities.  At the same time, they have not completely 
internalized that these are very different institutions and 
that the trading culture of the EU is inappropriate for NATO 
and for dealing with us. 
 
¶3. (C) On the political side, this period coincides with the 
departure of Lithuania's first generation of leaders -- the 
move of conservative leader Landsbergis to the European 
Parliament and the retirement of post Communist leader 
Brazauskas.  President Adamkus is now in the last two years 
of his second term. He will be almost 83 when his term ends 
and he is not expected to seek a third term.  This situation 
places considerable political uncertainty over the country, 
particularly for an ambitious politician such as Olekas. 
 
¶4. (C) Lithuania has, to date, "punched above its weight" in 
Iraq and Afghanistan and they take seriously NATO force goals 
and their contributions to the NRF.  While the NATO air 
policing mission in the Baltics is symbolically important, 
NATO membership has not protected them from their big 
neighbor -- Russia -- the way they expected.  Instead, even 
with NATO membership, Lithuania feels vulnerable to new types 
of challenges from Russia.  Russia's decision to suspend oil 
shipments via the Druzhba pipeline and to threaten to suspend 
natural gas shipments to Belarus (Lithuania receives natural 
gas via the same pipeline) has heightened Lithuanian 
awareness of their vulnerability.  Many Lithuanians see 
Russia behind everything bad that happens in the country. 
The opposition conservative party recently promoted a series 
of measures designed to "contain Russia." 
 
¶5. (C) 2002-2005 were halcyon years for the U.S.-Lithuanian 
relationship.  President Bush visited in 2002.  The 
Lithuanians were part of Secretary Rumsfeld's "New Europe" in 
2003, and they acceded to NATO in 2004.  Now Lithuania's 
relationship with the U.S. is also changing.  With the 
expansion of NATO and the EU, the relationship has become 
less about Lithuania and more about what we can do together 
globally.  While we continue to want Lithuanian partnership, 
we now expect them to carry more of the costs (e.g., 
operating costs for the PRT in Afghanistan which we paid at 
first).  Lithuanians found the old relationship with its high 
level visits and extensive financial support much more 
comfortable and less demanding, particularly on their budget. 
 In addition, the Lithuanians have been taken aback to find 
that in cases such as OECD accession not only did we not 
provide them with the accustomed roadmap for their 
membership, but we did not even support their membership. 
While they might have been able to reconcile themselves to 
this, it was further complicated by provoking Baltic jealousy 
with Estonia gaining approval for accession negotiations and 
then -- even worse from their perspective -- acquiescing to 
their "Great Satan's" (Russia's) eventual membership.  Our 
inability to get the Congress to approve the donation of two 
Osprey class minesweepers has led even our friends to 
 
question our support. 
 
¶6. (C) Vaitiekunas and Olekas will be looking to discuss and 
obtain U.S. support for several things during this visit 
going beyond Iraq.  Most basically, Vaitiekunas will be 
looking for reaffirmation of our close relationship.  Olekas 
will use any hesitancy on our part to convince their 
colleagues in the government that they no longer have to do 
the hard things for us.  Beyond that, Lithuania really has 
four foreign policy focuses:  energy security, Russia, their 
PRT in Afghanistan, and democratization in their 
neighborhood.  They will be looking for assurances that we 
are not going soft on Putin and Russia.  (They follow our 
discussions with Russia closely, and we constantly have to 
reassure them that the President and the Secretary mean what 
they say.)  On energy security, the Lithuanians appreciate 
the importance of diversity of supply.  Their near term 
situation is difficult with their Chernobyl-style nuclear 
power plant required to close in 2009 under their EU 
accession agreement. They are working with their neighbors to 
have a replacement facility ready between 2015 and 2020.  In 
the meantime, they appreciate the importance of a southern 
gas route from Central Asia to Europe and have been a driving 
force in creating a new EU consensus on energy policy.  They 
have invited Secretary Bodman to an "Energy Summit" they are 
hosting October 10-11 designed to promote greater EU 
consensus and promote a new, independent Caspain gas route. 
They are hoping that Kazahk President Nazarbayev and Turkmen 
President Berdimuhammedov will attend. 
 
¶7. (C) On Afghanistan, they fear that Ghor Province will be 
left behind because they do not (and will not) have the 
resources to put into major economic development.  They have 
done some work to bring the Gulf States on board with our 
assistance.  But they are finding that they do not have the 
development expertise to create projects with sufficient 
scale to attract the attention of the Gulf States.  They are 
looking for AID to continue to deliver some assistance in 
Ghor Province, but also for our help in designing projects 
suitable for Ghor that could attract funding from elsewhere. 
 
¶8. (C) With regard to Lithuania's neighborhood (Belarus, 
Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia) cooperation is currently 
excellent.  The Lithuanians remain uncomfortable with 
isolating Belarus, given that they see themselves as being of 
the same family, but they do appreciate that Lukashenko has 
done little to deserve a change of approach from the EU and 
the U.S. 
 
¶9. (C) The Lithuanians are in need of some alliance 
management.  They have gone from being one of our darlings in 
the 2003-2005 period to being a trusted and important ally. 
This transition is natural and appropriate from our 
perspective, but a little daunting from theirs.  I appreciate 
your willingness to spend some time helping the Lithuanians 
understand the important role they play as a friend and ally 
of the United States with both the privileges and 
expectations that go with that.  I believe this time will be 
particularly well spent with DefMin Olekas.  Although the 
driving force in working to downsize Lithuania's commitment 
to Iraq, he has been a strong proponent of Lithuanian 
involvement in Afghanistan.  I have not found him to be 
anti-American.  He is a medical doctor who is much more 
focused on domestic politics than on security issues. 
However, he appreciates the importance of NATO to Lithuania's 
security and the importance of U.S.-Lithuanian relations.  He 
is also the host for February's NATO Defense Ministerial.  I 
believe he can be turned around if he appreciates that the 
Lithuanian forces are meeting an important need. 
 
 
CLOUD