Viewing cable 09VILNIUS490
Title: LITHUANIA CONCERNED ABOUT PERCEPTIONS OF PHASED,

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
09VILNIUS4902009-09-18 13:57:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
VZCZCXRO9179
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHVL #0490 2611357
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 181357Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3746
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 000490 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/18/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIA CONCERNED ABOUT PERCEPTIONS OF PHASED, 
ADAPTIVE APPROACH 
 
REF: SECSTATE 96550 
 
Classified By: Pol/Econ John Finkbeiner for reasons 1.4(b) and (d) 
 
¶1.  (C) We delivered reftel talking points to MFA's Head of 
Transatlantic Cooperation and Security Policy Department 
Director Gediminas Varvuolis and Strategic and Transatlantic 
Relations Division Head Jonas Daniliauskas on September 17, 
shortly before the President's announcement (we later 
followed up with a copy of the President's remarks).  We 
emphasized that the new, "Phased, Adaptive Approach" is 
simply a more modern approach to missile defense that is 
better positioned to counter the threat posed by Iranian 
missile capabilities.  We also highlighted that land- and 
sea-based missile defense interceptors offer some flexibility 
to be redeployed as necessary in the region. 
 
¶2. (C) Varvuolis initially expressed concern that the U.S. 
would be perceived as having stepped away from the  previous 
U.S. plan (to deploy a ground based interceptor field in 
Poland and a fixed radar in the Czech Republic) because of 
Russian opposition.  Nevertheless, he said the concept of 
sea-based interceptors was of interest, particularly their 
potential operation in the Baltic Sea.  He seemed pleased 
with proposed plans to develop interoperability with NATO 
systems and noted that connectivity between U.S. national 
systems and NATO systems has been an ongoing issue (until 
recently Varvuolis was Lithuania's Deputy PermRep to NATO). 
 
¶3.  (C) In a meeting on September 18, APNSA-equivalent Darius 
Semaska told the Charge that President Grybauskaite preferred 
not to make public remarks about the new U.S. approach, and 
noted that Foreign Minister Usackas planned to discuss the 
decision with U.S. officials next week while he's at UNGA. 
Later in the day, the Baltic News Service quoted Semaska as 
saying "If the new package leads to more effective prevention 
and defense, then we stand behind it.  ...The President will 
endorse all efforts to combat potential terrorism threats and 
the spread of weapons of mass destruction with the most 
effective of attainable measures.  ...Technologies are 
changing, thus the need to adapt plans and measures, 
accordingly." 
 
¶4.  (U) Press coverage of the missile defense announcement 
was largely negative, though reports of GOL reaction were 
somewhat muted.  Foreign Minister Usackas is quoted as saying 
"The political message they're sending is not the best one." 
In the same article Defense Minister Rasa Jukneviciene, 
commenting on the previous plan to deploy missile defense 
infrastructure in Poland and the Czech Republic, is quoted as 
saying "We strongly supported the project because it would 
have boosted our security.  ...Information that was publicly 
available suggests that Russia was the country that 
particularly opposed the project.  Naturally, many people 
draw conclusions that this has to do with Russia."  However, 
both Usackas and Jukneviciene said they would withhold 
further comment until they can discuss further with U.S. 
officials. The Chairman of the Lithuanian Parliament's 
Foreign Affairs Committee Audronis Azubalis is quoted as 
saying "...these actions simply reveal the attitude of the 
new U.S. administration towards the Eastern European region." 
 A headline on BalticReports.com reads "Lithuanians Call 
Aborted U.S. Missile Shield a Russian Victory." 
 
¶5.  (C) Comment.  Although GOL officials have expressed some 
concerns recently about possible U.S. disengagement from 
Eastern Europe, their initial reaction to the President's 
decision on missile defense indicates that they may warm to 
the idea of a flexible approach. The GOL's initial concern 
was  more about the perception of the new approach than about 
the new approach itself.  Press attention is focused more on 
the U.S. decision to abandon the ground-based interceptor / 
fixed radar strategy than on the merits of the new Phased, 
Adaptive Approach. Post will continue to emphasize the 
benefits of the Phased, Adaptive Approach to enhance the 
regional security infrastructure.  End comment. 
LEADER