Viewing cable 09VILNIUS188
Title: AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH LITHUANIAN DEFENSE

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
09VILNIUS1882009-04-07 13:57:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 SECRET Embassy Vilnius
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R 071357Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 3412
INFO CJCS WASHINGTON DC
USMISSION USNATO
S E C R E T VILNIUS 000188 
 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/02/2019 
TAGS: PREL MOPS LH AF
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH LITHUANIAN DEFENSE 
MINISTER 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John A. Cloud for reasons 1.4 (a), (b) and 
(d). 
 
 ¶1. (C) On April 2, Ambassador Cloud held a one-on-one 
meeting with Lithuanian Defense Minister Rasa Jukneviciene, 
following her return from a visit to Afghanistan. 
Jukneviciene, who had been accompanied by three MPs, said she 
was very satisfied with her visits to the Lithuanian-run PRT 
in Ghor and with Lithuanian Special Forces.  During a press 
conference on their return, MP Loreta Grauziniene, chair of 
the parliament's audit committee, and candidate in the 
upcoming presidential elections, announced that she came back 
convinced about Lithuania's commitment to Afghanistan, 
despite her earlier skepticism. 
 
¶2. (C)  The DefMin said Lithuania will stay in Afghanistan as 
long as NATO does.  The current mandate expires end of 2010, 
but the Government plans to go back to the Parliament to 
extend the life of the mandate, which it will do no earlier 
than this Fall. 
 
¶3. (C) On the defense budget and government-wide budget cuts, 
Jukneviciene said she has tried to protect personnel and 
investments, which made for bigger cuts elsewhere.  She said 
she finds herself saddled by two decisions from the previous 
government:  1) the commitment to move to a professional 
military, and 2) too many long-term procurement contracts. 
The previous government committed to a professional military, 
but didn't fund it, she said, which has resulted in a 
situation where there are eight officers (including sergeants 
and above) in the deployment to Afghanistan for each enlisted 
person.  (For the military as a whole, there are 4.6 
officers, including sergeants, for each enlisted soldier.) 
That is not sustainable, she said.  On long-term contracts, 
she said they deny her flexibility in these tough budgetary 
times.  She has tasked her staff with trying to re-negotiate 
these contracts. 
 
¶4. (C) The Defense Minister said she is a strong supporter of 
European Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite's Presidential 
candidacy based on two conversations they have had.  These 
focused on governing and transparency and not on security 
matters.  When asked if Grybauskaite had an EU over a NATO 
bias, the DefMin said that she did not. (Note:  In a separate 
conversation, the PM's foreign policy advisor, Loreta 
Zakareviciene, said that Grybauskaite would be a strong NATO 
supporter.  Zakareviciene's son is working on Grybauskaite's 
campaign.) 
 
 
CLOUD