Viewing cable 08VILNIUS501
Title: VISIT OF SPECIAL ENVOY CHRISTIAN KENNEDY: GOL

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
08VILNIUS5012008-06-27 10:32:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
VZCZCXRO4858
RR RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHVL #0501/01 1791032
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 271032Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2464
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 000501 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/25/2018 
TAGS: PHUM SCUL PREL LH
SUBJECT: VISIT OF SPECIAL ENVOY CHRISTIAN KENNEDY:  GOL 
STILL FUMBLING WITH JEWISH ISSUES 
 
REF: VILNIUS 479 AND PREVIOUS 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John A. Cloud for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
¶1.  (C) Summary:  Ambassador Christian Kennedy, Special Envoy 
for Holocaust Issues, visited Lithuania June 19-20 and met 
with members of the Jewish community and GOL officials.  He 
found that, despite the upcoming visit of PM Kirkilas to 
Washington and resolutions pending in the U.S. Congress 
critical of the GOL's handling of Jewish issues, the GOL 
seems to have no sense of urgency to solve them, and can 
report only the most modest progress on one of them.  The GOL 
had no good news to share on communal property restitution or 
investigations of anti-Nazi partisans.  End summary. 
 
Snipiskes Cemetery 
------------------ 
 
¶2.  (C) Adviser to President Adamkus Lauras Bielinis told 
Kennedy that the President has told the PM several times to 
resolve the Snipiskes cemetery issue quickly and thoroughly. 
Bielinis said that a geophysical study of the cemetery would 
begin soon and the President would support the findings of 
that study.  (Note:  The study began on June 25.)  Simon 
Gurevicius, Executive Director of the Lithuanian Jewish 
Community, expressed optimism that the cemetery issue would 
be resolved in a positive way, in large part due to the 
approach of the private developer, Ukio Bank Investment 
Group, that owns the undeveloped portion of the cemetery. 
Kennedy stressed to all of his GOL interlocutors that the 
cemetery and property restitution were issues of shared 
values among allies. 
 
Communal Property Restitution 
----------------------------- 
 
¶3.  (C) Prime Minister's adviser on Jewish issues, Vilius 
Kavaliauskas, told Kennedy that the Ministry of Justice had 
submitted to the Government draft amendments to the religious 
law regarding communal property restitution on June 18.  The 
next step forward would be for the Government to review the 
amendments and submit them to Parliament.  Kavaliauskas 
noted, however, that there are still some "technical details 
to sort out."  Moreover, although the amendments could be 
ready "within a few weeks," a "realistic time frame for 
parliamentary consideration would be October or November," 
after the October 12 Parliamentary elections.  Faina 
Kukliansky, attorney and Deputy Chair of the Lithuanian 
Jewish Community, was very pessimistic about the GOL's 
efforts to address communal property restitution.  She noted 
that the amendments had bounced back and forth between the 
MOJ and the Government numerous times and the GOL has 
promised several times to submit the amendments to the 
Parliament, but has never done so.  She added that private 
property restitution has also been nearly impossible for Jews 
because most Jews were killed in the Holocaust.  For those 
who survived, private restitution requires Lithuanian 
citizenship and Jews who emigrated from Lithuania lost their 
citizenship in many cases.  MP Emmanuelis Zingeris stressed 
to Kennedy that restitution should be linked explicitly with 
cultural issues, including the preservation and 
memorialization of Lithuania's rich Jewish heritage.  He had, 
however, no practical suggestions on how to establish these 
linkages. 
 
Investigation of anti-Nazi Partisans 
------------------------------------ 
 
¶4.  (C) Zingeris told Kennedy that, at his request, the State 
Security Department (VSD) analyzed the impacts of the 
lingering investigation of the Prosecutor's office into 
anti-Nazi partisan Yitzhak Arad (Israeli General and former 
head of Yad Vashem).  According to Zingeris, VSD reported to 
the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister that the case could 
isolate Lithuania and increase the international perception 
of Lithuania as a "non-pluralist" country.  Zingeris alleged 
that the Arad case was the result of pressure from the 
Government's Genocide Center and others, who were "furious" 
at Arad for his cooperation with DOJ's investigation of the 
role of some Lithuanians who allegedly collaborated with the 
Nazis.  (Note:  The Genocide Center is a GOL institute that 
focuses mostly on crimes of the Soviet regime.)  Bielinis and 
Kavaliauskas both assured Kennedy that the investigations of 
Arad and other anti-Nazi partisans would not go anywhere. 
Bielinis pointed out that President Adamkus spoke publicly 
against the Arad investigation when it first arose. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
¶5.  (C) The GOL's failure to address, much less resolve, 
these three issues was on full display during Kennedy's 
 
VILNIUS 00000501  002 OF 002 
 
 
visit.  GOL officials exhibited a sense of resignation or 
denial about ways forward.  Post will continue to work 
closely with EUR/OHI on these issues and will continue to 
press the GOL to take concrete and timely steps forward. 
CLOUD