Viewing cable 08VILNIUS898
Title: SCENESETTER FOR SECRETARY CHERTOFF'S VISIT TO

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
08VILNIUS8982008-10-22 15:08:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Vilnius
VZCZCXYZ0017
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHVL #0898/01 2961508
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221508Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2985
UNCLAS VILNIUS 000898 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DHS FOR SECRETARY CHERTOFF FROM AMBASSADOR CLOUD 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL DHS KHLS KCSY EUN LH
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR SECRETARY CHERTOFF'S VISIT TO 
LITHUANIA 
 
¶1. (SBU) Secretary Chertoff, welcome to Lithuania!  We and 
the Government of Lithuania are very much looking forward to 
your visit on October 30.  The announcement by President Bush 
of Lithuania's entry into the Visa Waiver Program October 17 
was the fulfillment of a long standing (and much discussed) 
national goal.  Though Lithuania has been independent for 
over eighteen years, memories of Russian domination have not 
faded, especially in light of recent activity in Georgia. 
Lithuania has been a strong and forward leaning NATO ally 
since 2004, but the Lithuanians see membership in Visa Waiver 
as welcome evidence that they are securely ensconced "in the 
club." 
 
¶2. (SBU) Though your visit will be short, it will be busy. 
You will meet with Lithuanian President Adamkus and will hold 
a press conference immediately afterward.  This media event 
will give you the opportunity to highlight publicly 
Lithuania's entry into the Visa Waiver Program, announce the 
effective date (presumed to be sometime in mid-November), and 
also emphasize the necessity of using the Electronic System 
for Travel Authorization (ESTA) -- a requirement of which 
much of the general public is probably unaware. 
 
¶3. (SBU) I will also be hosting a lunch at my residence in 
your honor, and expect the ministers of Foreign Affairs, 
Interior, and Transportation as well as a representative from 
the State Security Department -- all of which contributed 
during the Visa Waiver qualification process -- as well as 
the American Caucus in Parliament.  This lunch will afford 
you the chance to celebrate with senior Lithuanian officials 
Lithuania's entry into Visa Waiver and also share any 
additional details on the program. 
 
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Lithuania 
----------- 
 
¶4. (U) Lithuania itself is no longer an emerging democracy 
but an established one.  In the first round of recent 
Parliamentary elections, held October 12, the center-right 
Conservative party won the most seats.  A second round will 
be held October 26.  By the time of your arrival, political 
parties should be deep in coalition talks.  We expect the 
final government to form by mid-November.  Regardless of the 
final composition, the parties that have done well so far in 
these elections are generally pro-NATO and pro-EU and we 
expect the new government will not deviate from Lithuania's 
current foreign policy path. 
 
¶5. (U) Lithuania, particularly in recent years, has assumed a 
notable role in promoting peace and prosperity in its own 
eastern European "neighborhood" and in supporting NATO 
missions as far away as Afghanistan.  Lithuania is lobbying 
NATO (as well as the EU) to strengthen its ties with Georgia 
and Ukraine, openly supporting extending MAP offers for both. 
 The Lithuanians also favor a more conciliatory approach to 
Belarus, their immediate neighbor to the East, advocating 
increased EU engagement as a countermeasure to Russian 
influence. 
 
¶6. (U) Lithuania currently has more than two hundred "boots 
on the ground" in Afghanistan in support of ISAF.  It leads a 
multinational Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan's 
Ghor province, and also contributes forces to more front line 
counterinsurgency operations to the south.  Lithuanian 
soldiers also serve as peacekeepers in the Balkans. 
 
¶7. (U) In spite of the worldwide economic slowdown, Lithuania 
is still one of the fastest growing economies in Europe. 
However, heady growth has slowed from last year's 8.8 percent 
to a predicted 5 percent this year.  Domestic demand is 
beginning to slacken, wage increases are slowing and 
unemployment is projected to be 5.3 percent for 2008. 
Lithuania needs to attract foreign investment to sustain 
long-term growth, which complements our own objective of 
attracting more U.S. investment here.  The United States is 
the twelfth largest source of foreign direct investment in 
Lithuania, with investments totaling approximately 306 
million USD as of the end of June 2008.  Lithuanian 
emigration has slowed in recent years, but earlier high rates 
have resulted in large Lithuanian emigrant communities in 
London, Dublin, and Chicago. 
 
------------------------ 
President Valdas Adamkus 
------------------------ 
 
¶8. (SBU) Your sole bilateral meeting on October 30 will be 
with President Valdas Adamkus, himself a post World War II 
emigrant to the U.S. and former American citizen.  He had a 
long, successful career with the EPA, all the while being 
 
active in the Lithuanian American community.  He moved back 
to Lithuania in the early 1990's and previously served as 
president from 1997 to 2002, when he lost his bid for 
reelection to populist Rolandas Paksas.  Adamkus regained the 
presidency following Paksas's impeachment and removal from 
office in April 2004 in proceedings that rocked the nation 
and tested the democratic institutions of the young republic. 
 Now well into his second term, Adamkus is pro-U.S. and a 
strong supporter of NATO's eastern expansion.  He met with 
President Bush in Washington in late September and discussed 
the possibility of Lithuania's entry into Visa Waiver; and he 
is no doubt very pleased that less than two months later it 
has happened. 
 
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Your Visit 
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¶9. (SBU) I will greet your delegation upon arrival in Vilnius 
and we will proceed directly to the President's palace for 
the meeting with President Adamkus.  After the press 
conference we will go to my residence for a lunch with 
Lithuanian officials.  I will then escort you back to the 
airport for your departure.  Let me again say that entry into 
Visa Waiver is a most welcome bit of news for this small yet 
valuable NATO ally; it is also a highlight of my tenure here. 
 I and all of my staff at Embassy Vilnius very much look 
forward to your visit. 
LEADER