Viewing cable 09VILNIUS457
Title: LITHUANIA'S STRATEGIC PLANS FOR AFGHANISTAN

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
09VILNIUS4572009-08-26 14:43:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
VZCZCXRO1661
PP RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHVL #0457/01 2381443
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 261443Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3704
INFO RUEHXP/ALL NATO POST COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 0026
RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ASTANA PRIORITY
RUEHKB/AMEMBASSY BAKU PRIORITY 0023
RUEHDO/AMEMBASSY DOHA PRIORITY 0007
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0085
RUEHKU/AMEMBASSY KUWAIT PRIORITY 0038
RUEHMK/AMEMBASSY MANAMA PRIORITY 0014
RUEHMS/AMEMBASSY MUSCAT PRIORITY 0004
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 0013
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 0044
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 VILNIUS 000457 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/NB, EUR/RPM, SCA/A 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/26/2019 
TAGS: AF LH MARR MOPS NATO PREL
SUBJECT: LITHUANIA'S STRATEGIC PLANS FOR AFGHANISTAN 
 
REF: A. VILNIUS 194 
     ¶B. VILNIUS 188 
     ¶C. VILNIUS 172 
 
Classified By: CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D'AFFAIRES DAMIAN LEADER, FOR REASO 
NS 1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
¶1.  (U)  Summary.  The GOL recently prepared a new national 
strategy on its activities in Afghanistan which would extend 
the current mandate for troops on the ground through the end 
of 2013.  The Parliament will take a decision on extending 
the mandate during its Fall session.  The GOL continues to 
struggle with funding its development projects and continues 
to seek USG assistance in lining up donors; officials have 
put down a few markers that the GOL's ability to continue 
running the Ghor PRT may be at risk unless finances improve. 
The GOL is planning to host an RC West Conference in Vilnius 
in December and a Donor Conference for Ghor Province in the 
Spring.  End summary. 
 
---------------------- 
Afghanistan Commitment 
---------------------- 
 
¶2.  (C)  We met with MFA's Chief Counselor Valdemaras 
Sarapinas on August 21 to discuss next steps in Afghanistan. 
Sarapinas said that the GOL recently prepared a new national 
strategy on activities in Afghanistan through the end of 2013 
using strategy papers from the U.S., UK, Denmark and Sweden 
as models.  The MFA drafted the strategy paper in 
collaboration with MOD, MOI and MOF.  He explained that the 
strategy document formalizes already established plans to 
extend the current mandate to maintain troops in Afghanistan 
from the end of 2010 until the end of 2013.  Sarapinas said 
that an inter-agency group will also prepare an 
implementation plan for the strategy.  The GOL and the 
Parliament (Seimas) will take a final decision on the 
Afghanistan strategy and extending the mandate during the 
Parliament's Fall session, which begins September 10.  When 
asked if he thought the Afghanistan strategy would be 
approved, Sarapinas was optimistic; "I have no doubts, 
frankly speaking." 
 
-------------------- 
Development Projects 
-------------------- 
 
¶3.  (SBU)  Sarapinas said that the GOL continues to search 
for donors for its development projects in Afghanistan, 
in particular the renovation of the Chaghcharan airport, as 
well as a road from Herat to Kabul and renovations of a local 
hospital and a children's care center.  Sarapinas was 
encouraged that Japanese civil experts now are working at the 
PRT.  In a separate meeting in early August with Virginija 
Umbrasiene, head of the programs and projects division of the 
MFA,s Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion 
Department, we learned that the GOL continues to seek 
additional funding from various nations to pave the runway at 
Chaghcharan airport to a thickness sufficient to handle C-130 
aircraft. Umbrasiene said the Afghan Ministry of Finance 
wrote to the Abu Dhabi Development Fund on August 9 seeking 
its financial support for the project, and she said the GOL 
has urged the Afghan government to write a similar letter to 
the World Bank. She said the GOL would welcome USG letters of 
support to both the Abu Dhabi Development Fund and the World 
Bank. 
 
¶4.  (SBU) In addition, Sarapinas said that Foreign Minister 
Usackas discussed development projects with his counterparts 
in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan and received encouraging 
responses; USG approaches to both countries could help 
Lithuania's efforts, according to Sarapinas. He inquired 
about the possibility of USAID and / or Commander's Emergency 
Response funding from the U.S.  Lastly he asked if the U.S. 
could send civil specialists such as police, doctors and 
budget analysts to the region. 
 
¶5.  (SBU) Umbrasiene said the GOL, because it is a 
government, has limited its direct contacts to state actors 
and international organizations such as the World Bank and 
 
VILNIUS 00000457  002 OF 003 
 
 
the Asian Development Bank.  She said the GOL has not 
approached NGOs or other potential private donors or even 
thought about doing so, but is open to the possibility of 
taking such steps to help fund development projects.  She 
asked for U.S. advice on identifying and approaching such 
sources. 
 
---------------------------------- 
Continued Coordination with Allies 
---------------------------------- 
 
¶5.  (C)  Sarapinas said that the GOL plans to host two 
conferences to discuss Afghanistan strategy.  The GOL will 
host an RC West Conference in Vilnius this Winter 
(potentially December 7-8).  Sarapinas envisions the 
conference as an opportunity to discuss past achievements, 
future priorities and increased civilian participation in 
Afghanistan.  He suggested that a high level USG 
representative from DOS or DOD could deliver the keynote 
speech.  The GOL will also coordinate, together with the 
Governor of Ghor province, a Ghor Donor Conference in Kabul 
or in Chaghcharan.  Sarapinas said the GOL would likely hold 
the conference in the Spring although the end of October / 
beginning of November is also a possibility. In preparation 
for the conference, GOL representatives are working with 
local government representatives in Ghor to expand the 
current provincial development plan which is now just a "wish 
list." 
 
------------------------ 
If Funding Doesn't Come? 
------------------------ 
 
¶6.  (C) Despite the GOL's commitment to stay in Afghanistan 
through 2013, there have been some unmistakable hints that 
Lithuania needs help if it is to follow through on that 
commitment.  President Grybauskaite on August 25 told NATO 
SecGen GFogh Rasmussen that Lithuania is committed to ISAF, 
but added that "efforts to guarantee operations of the (Ghor 
PRT) requires closer cooperation among allies to come up with 
additional funding."  The President's NSA-equivalent told 
Charge August 20 that the President is committed to 
Afghanistan (and plans to visit next Spring) but that budget 
cuts are brutal.  Afghanistan is costing the GOL several 
times more than the appropriation for all MFA and diplomatic 
expenses next year.  If economic pressures get worse in 2010, 
Semaska said Lithuania may have to "revisit our commitment." 
¶7.  (C)  Semaska said Lithuania's SOF accounts for 25% of 
Afghan expenses, and the PRT 75%.  He asked Charge which is 
the more important of the two missions, if Lithuania had to 
choose?  Charge replied that both are important, that ISAF is 
a NATO operation which is in Lithuania and the EU's interest 
as much as the U.S.'s  interest, that it is about building a 
safer, more stable Afghanistan that is not an exporter of 
terrorism as it was in 2001.  Semaska agreed, and concluded 
by reiterating that Lithuania is committed to Afghanistan, 
and hoped that the budget situation would not worsen in 2010. 
 
 
---------- 
Next Steps 
---------- 
 
¶8.  (C)  Comment.  The GOL's continued commitment to 
Afghanistan in spite of serious budget cuts is commendable. 
However, PRT operations remain the priority for the GOL's 
dwindling funds, with little left for development projects. 
Unfortunately, the GOL's inexperience with raising 
development funds continues to limit forward progress on 
these projects.  Although the GOL has made some progress in 
the last few months in approaching potential donors, it has 
yet to close the deal on any significant funding.  The 
proposed donors' conference is a potentially welcome step, 
though we suspect the GOL will seek USG and other assistance 
in order to organize it. 
 
¶9. (C) In addition to the GOL's lack of follow-through with 
potential donors, another obstacle is the potential hesitancy 
of some sponsors to fund projects in the comparatively 
peaceful province of Ghor.  The GOL argues that 
 
VILNIUS 00000457  003 OF 003 
 
 
Ghor,s relative peace is precarious, and could be threatened 
if the people of Ghor feel that their province is being 
overlooked.  The GOL does not want to give the people of Ghor 
province a reason to ally themselves with destabilizing 
groups.  End comment. 
 
¶10.  (U) Action request:  As noted above, the GOL continues 
to seek USG assistance as it solicits funding for its 
development projects.  Post would welcome Washington views on 
possible USG support, including for a potential donors' 
conference. We have forwarded to EUR/NB a copy of the Afghan 
Government letter to the Abu Dhabi Development Fund, and will 
seek a copy of any similar letter to the World Bank. 
LEADER