C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 000477
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/17/2018
TAGS: MOPS MARR ENRG SCUL PHUM XH IZ AF LH
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES WASHINGTON MEETINGS WITH PM
Classified By: Ambassador John A. Cloud for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
Â¶1. (C) Summary: Ambassador Cloud met June 18 with
Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas to discuss his
July 2 meetings with the Vice President and other senior
officials in Washington. Kirkilas said there is no decision
yet on extending Lithuanian troops in Iraq past July; said
Lithuania hopes to provide additional Special Forces to
Afghanistan if others can provide assistance; reaffirmed that
Lithuania is willing to host MD interceptors if negotiations
with Poland fail; expressed concern over Georgia; and said
Lithuania would like to host a NATO energy security center.
The Ambassador encouraged him to meet with Jewish groups in
the U.S. to respond to concerns over communal property
restitution and other issues. Kirkilas was accompanied by
foreign policy advisor Mindaugas Jurkynas, Ambassador Cloud
by his DCM. End summary.
Â¶2. (C) Kirkilas said that the State Security Council met
June 17 to discuss DefMin Olekas's opposition to continuing
Iraq's deployment in Iraq past July. Kirkilas said domestic
politics are the problem: Olekas, a fellow Social Democrat,
is supported by others within the party and, with elections
in October, Kirkilas does not want to let Olekas use Iraq to
split the party. Kirkilas hoped the 40-man deployment could
be extended to the end of the year by swapping out ten
soldiers at a time so no decision would have to be made on a
"new deployment." Kirkilas understands he cannot go to
Washington without a decision on Iraq, and explained he would
meet that evening with Olekas and hoped to convince him to
agree to keep the troops in Iraq until year's end.
Â¶3. (C) The Ambassador stressed that our commanders in Iraq
value the Lithuanian contribution for their military rather
than just symbolic value.
Â¶4. (C) Kirkilas said Lithuania hopes to increase its
Special Forces deployment in Afghanistan, but will need
support for that because of budgetary problems. Turning to
Lithuania's desire for development assistance in Ghor
province (where it runs a PRT), the Ambassador said he was
pleased the U.S.-arranged meeting among FM Vaitiekunas, USAID
Director Fore, and potential donors (including UAE and Saudi
Arabia) had resulted in forward motion. He encouraged the
GOL to act now on feasibility studies for the road and
airport work in Ghor Province and to get them to the
potential donors as soon as possible. The Ambassador
underscored continuing USG support as shown by the return of
a political officer to Chaghcharan and the presence of a
Â¶5. (C) Kirkilas said the GOL is ready to host MD
interceptors in Lithuania as discussed with U/S Rood in May.
Lithuania considers Poland a strategic partner, however, and
does not want to get crossways with the Poles. He asked
about the status of U.S.-Polish MD negotiations. The
Ambassador said negotiations are continuing and we remain
hopeful an agreement can be reached soon on deployment.
Kirkilas said Lithuania stands by should that not be
Â¶6. (C) Lithuania is in close touch with Georgian President
Saakashvili, Kirkilas said, and is growing increasingly
concerned that the situation is worsening there. The
Lithuanians are trying to convince Saakashvili to take a more
considered approach, but he appears ready to start a war with
Russia which he thinks he can win. The Ambassador said we
are working closely with Georgia to ensure that Saakashvili
understands that there is no military solution.
Â¶7. (C) Kirkilas asked our assessment of Belarus. The
Ambassador again thanked Lithuania for its willingness to be
our protective power had our Embassy closed, but said we are
keeping it open in its reduced state so we can be supportive
of democratic forces. We are making sure our sanctions cover
all the entities of the targeted state enterprises, and will
closely watch the Government's conduct of the elections this
fall. Kirkilas offered to have the Lithuanian embassy in
Minsk help us in any way it can in the lead up to elections.
Â¶8. (C) Lithuania would like to open a NATO energy security
center, Kirkilas said. Although NATO was not yet ready to
support the idea, it has been "spiritually" supportive.
Lithuania will develop the concept more fully and may ask
Secretary Gates for USG support for this initiative, he said.
Â¶9. (C) The Ambassador said he had understood earlier that
Kirkilas would be meeting with Jewish groups in New York to
address their concerns over communal property restitution,
the prosecution of Holocaust survivors, and construction on
the site of an historic cemetery. However, according to the
latest schedule made available to the Embassy, the only
related meeting scheduled was with YIVO, which did not follow
those issues. Kirkilas said he would make sure appropriate
meetings were arranged.