Viewing cable 08VILNIUS868
Title: LITHUANIA WANTS INCREASED USG ATTENTION VIA

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
08VILNIUS8682008-10-17 09:52:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
VZCZCXYZ0002
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHVL #0868/01 2910952
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 170952Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2950
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 000868 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/17/2018 
TAGS: PREL KTIA NATO XG ZB LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIA WANTS INCREASED USG ATTENTION VIA 
REVIVED BALTIC CHARTER 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John A. Cloud for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
¶1. (C) Summary: Lithuanian political leaders have recently 
called in Vilnius and Washington for the U.S. to revive the 
1998 Baltic Charter as a mechanism to get a more "muscular" 
USG presence in the Baltic region, and also have the U.S. 
help resolve Lithuania's security related issues.  The 
Lithuanians say utilizing this Charter will not threaten 
their commitment to NATO and Article V common defense. 
 
¶2. (C) Lithuania is one of our most forward leaning allies in 
Eastern Europe, but its desire to re-activate this Charter 
highlights the Lithuanian's inability both to appreciate the 
regular, high level consultations they already receive as a 
NATO ally and to solve basic, long standing energy security 
issues with their own regional partners.  Post believes USG 
consultations -- particularly given the recent increase in 
their tempo -- meets Lithuanian needs and that there is no 
need to re-start the Baltic Charter mechanisms.  Post will 
endeavor to supplement Lithuania's inter-agency briefing 
process on our existing consultations in order to ensure that 
all of the key players are briefed.  End summary. 
 
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The Baltic Charter 
------------------ 
 
¶3. (U) The Baltic Charter is a political agreement signed in 
January 1998 by Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the United 
States, which served as a mechanism for USG-Baltic political 
and security consultation, pre-NATO accession.  As the Baltic 
countries progressed toward NATO membership, the Charter's 
mandated consultations became less relevant as political and 
security dialogue transferred to NATO fora. 
 
¶4. (C) It is not a coincidence that the Lithuanian push to 
revive the Baltic Charter comes only two months after the 
Russian's invasion of Georgian territory.  The crisis both 
validated Lithuanian suspicions that Russia's aim is to gain 
control over former Soviet states and also unleashed deep 
seated insecurity that the Baltic States "might be next." 
 
¶5. (C) GOL officials have raised the idea of reviving the 
Baltic Charter with Estonia and Latvia, but characterized 
their neighbors' reaction as "less enthusiastic."  The 
Lithuanians say they will continue to lobby the other Baltic 
States and expect no objections to this idea in the end. 
 
¶6. (C) The GOL has raised the idea of re-activating the 
Baltic Charter in several meetings with USG officials. 
President Adamkus mentioned the idea during his September 29 
meetings in Washington.  The Prime Minister's foreign policy 
advisor Mindaugas Jurkynas told Post in early October that 
the Lithuanians want to invoke the Charter and see a larger 
military footprint -- "more ships and planes" -- in Lithuania 
as the desired result - even though a larger American 
footprint in the Baltic States was never part of the Charter. 
 
¶7. (C) MFA Director of the Transatlantic Cooperation and 
Security Policy Department Vytautas Leskevicius said the 
Lithuanians specifically want to activate the Charter's 
Partnership Commission, which the agreement describes as 
"chaired at the appropriately high level to evaluate common 
efforts" and which "meets once a year or as needed to take 
stock of the Partnership, (and) assess results of bilateral 
consultations on economic, military, and other areas..." 
Leskevicius emphasized that re-activating the Charter is no 
threat to NATO and said that Lithuania has confidence in the 
Article Five common defense commitment.  However the 
Lithuanians want more "institutionalized" consultation (and 
more attention, in general) in a smaller, sub-NATO setting. 
 
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How We Engage with Lithuania 
---------------------------- 
 
¶8. (C) In stressing the need for increased 
"institutionalized" consultation apart from NATO, the 
Lithuanians emphasize the fanfare of "summits" and 
high-profile meetings, while under-valuing the kinds of 
regularly scheduled interactions we normally have with our 
closest allies in Brussels and elsewhere.  Since July, 
Lithuanian political leaders have met with the President, had 
two meetings with the Vice President, one with the Secretary 
of State, and two with the Secretary of Defense.  Lithuanian 
military leaders hosted USSOCOM Commander Admiral Olson and 
the USS Elrod ship visit in August, and USAFE Commander 
General Brady in early September.  They also met with the 
Chairman of the JCS Admiral Mullen in Brussels, also in 
September, and will host him in Vilnius in October.  Another 
 
frigate, the USS Doyle, will visit at the end of October. 
 
¶9. (C) Lithuanian MFA Under Secretary Pavilionis has been 
clear that they do not see the current e-PINE (USG, Baltic 
States, and Scandinavia) consultations as a substitute for 
consultations under the Baltic Charter.  Pavilionis has told 
us that Lithuania has frequent consultations with 
Scandinavia; what they are looking for are consultations with 
the USG.  In addition, the weakness of Lithuania's 
inter-agency process has resulted in the MFA and the 
Presidency not getting timely readouts of EUCOM consultations 
with the Baltic States on security issues. 
 
¶10. (C) Through our current interactions with Lithuania, they 
usually achieve what they need, especially in the security 
area.  For example, in the aftermath of the Georgia crisis, 
they requested a threat re-assessment for Eastern Europe and 
a contingency plan in case of Russian aggression into the 
Baltic region.  NATO is currently, informally developing just 
such a plan. 
 
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Energy Security 
--------------- 
 
¶11. (C) The Lithuanians also want to utilize the Baltic 
Charter to get the USG involved in energy security issues. 
Despite Lithuanian lobbying, the EU appears unwilling to 
allow them to keep their Chernobyl-style nuclear reactor at 
Ignalina operating past 2009.  The Lithuanians agreed to 
close this plant as a pre-condition for joining the EU, yet 
have made little progress on alternative sources over the 
past several years. 
 
¶12. (C) Lithuania also has disagreements on energy with its 
Baltic ally, Latvia.  In the GOL's opinion, the Latvians are 
attempting to divert an electrical cable connection from 
Sweden to their country, instead of Lithuania as initially 
planned.  An MFA source openly said he hoped the USG could 
help resolve problems such as this through the Baltic 
Charter.  We clearly must engage the entire EU to push for 
greater energy security in Europe, but creating a new forum 
to adjudicate intra-Baltic spats would not accomplish that. 
 
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Conclusion 
---------- 
 
¶13. (C) While we agree that in the current climate we should 
do all we can to reassure the Lithuanian government and 
people of our commitment to Lithuania's security and 
prosperity, we are wary of using the recently re-discovered 
Baltic Charter, its mandated consultations, and the 
inevitable, additional bureaucracy, as our means to do so. 
CLOUD