Viewing cable 09VILNIUS571
Title: AMBASSADOR'S INITIAL CALL ON JUSTICE MINISTER

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
09VILNIUS5712009-10-30 14:59:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHVL #0571/01 3031459
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301459Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3839
INFO RUEHRA/AMEMBASSY RIGA PRIORITY 3664
RUEHTL/AMEMBASSY TALLINN PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 000571 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/NB, EUR/OHI 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/30/2019 
TAGS: PREL PHUM CJAN EINV LH
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S INITIAL CALL ON JUSTICE MINISTER 
SIMASIUS 
 
Classified By: A/DCM John Finkbeiner for reasons 1.4(b) and (d). 
 
¶1. (C) SUMMARY:  During her introductory call on Justice 
Minister Remigijus Simasius, Ambassador Derse heard that the 
GOL remains committed to passage of legislation providing 
compensation for expropriated Jewish communal property and to 
removing references to homosexuality from a controversial law 
governing the types of information that cannot be presented 
to minors.  The Minister also asked whether the United States 
could provide any information to prove or disprove 
allegations that the CIA ran a prison in Lithuania for 
terrorist suspects several years ago.  He requested 
assistance in getting the United States to recognize and 
respond to Lithuanian court rulings in child-custody and 
other cases, and said the GOL was working to ease regulatory 
barriers and make Lithuania more attractive to foreign, 
including U.S., investors.  End summary. 
 
¶2.  (U) Ambassador Derse had her first meeting with Justice 
Minister Simasius at the ministry on October 30.  Simasius is 
not a member of the Seimas (parliament) and was nominated for 
his post by the Liberal Movement party, the second largest 
faction in the four-party governing coalition.  Before 
joining the government, Simasius, 35, was president of a 
conservative think tank, the Lithuanian Free Market Institute. 
 
¶3.  (U) The ambassador thanked Simasius for Lithuania's good 
record in fighting intellectual-property theft, noting that 
there have been about 100 prosecutions over the past year. 
 
Jewish Property Compensation 
---------------------------- 
 
¶4.  (C) The minister raised the issue of Jewish property 
compensation, saying he knew it had long been a priority for 
the United States.  He said the government of Prime Minister 
Andrius Kubilius, unlike its predecessors, was committed to 
resolving the issue, even though discussion of paying out 
millions of dollars to the Jewish community at a time of 
financial crisis could be politically devastating.  Simasius 
said the Cabinet and Prime Minister had decided to delay 
scheduling the compensation bill's first reading in the 
Seimas until after discussion of the budget, which calls for 
cuts in social benefits and other unpopular austerity 
measures, was completed.  The ambassador said she understood 
the political need to balance difficult issues, but stressed 
the importance of staying on track to ensure that the 
compensation legislation was passed.  She also encouraged the 
GOL to work with the Jewish community to ensure that the 
compensation bill met their needs as much as possible, and 
said she would continue to follow closely developments on the 
issue. 
 
CIA Prison Press Reports 
------------------------ 
 
¶5.  (C) Minister Simasius said the GOL has received inquiries 
from the EU Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs 
concerning allegations, first reported by ABC News, that 
Lithuania had hosted a CIA prison for terrorist suspects. 
"In Lithuania, discussion of this will continue to go on up 
to the moment when everything is clear," Simasius said.  "If 
you could give us a response showing that something was or 
wasn't, I'd be appreciative."  Ambassador Derse said she 
could not comment on matters related to intelligence, but 
promised to pass his request to Washington. 
 
Bilateral Legal Issues 
---------------------- 
 
¶6.  (C) The minister told Ambassador Derse that Lithuania has 
experienced difficulty in getting recognition of Lithuanian 
court decisions in the United States, particularly in custody 
disputes and other family issues.  The ambassador asked him 
to provide information about specific cases that have been 
problematic and promised to work with other parts of the USG 
to resolve the problems. 
 
Ban on promoting homosexuality 
------------------------------ 
 
¶7.  (C) The ambassador asked Simasius about the political 
genesis of legal amendments passed this summer by the Seimas 
to a law on protection of minors from inappropriate 
information.  Those amendments, which passed and were then 
sustained after a presidential veto, will prohibit promotion 
of homosexual, bisexual or polygamous relations.  They have 
been sharply criticized by European governments and local and 
international NGOs.  Simasius said conservative elements in 
 
the ruling Conservative Party had proposed the amendments, 
and pointed out that his own party had voted against them. 
He said he hoped that the involvement of President 
Grybauskaite, who appointed a commission that has recommended 
removing the references to homosexuality, will "cool down the 
atmosphere in parliament" and allow the law to be amended 
again and stave off further criticism.  Ambassador Derse said 
that such issues would certainly influence Lithuania's 
international image, and could adversely affect investors' 
willingness to do business in Lithuania. 
 
Easing business barriers 
------------------------ 
 
¶8.  (C) Simasius said that Lithuania very much wants to 
attract foreign investment, including American investment, 
and that the GOL is working to modernize its economic 
regulations to make it easier and more attractive for 
businesses to operate here.  Two current areas of focus are 
decreasing regulation and increasing flexibility in the labor 
market and cutting down on land-use restrictions and red 
tape.  He said he thought Lithuania stacked up well against 
neighboring countries in its investment climate, but "we're 
trying to make it better."  The ambassador said that 
Lithuania's strategic location, well-educated labor force and 
EU membership should make the country attractive for 
investors, and said she would encourage U.S. investors to 
consider Lithuania.  Simasius said he considered fair 
treatment of investors a matter of justice and thus part of 
his responsibility, and encouraged the ambassador to let him 
know of any American investors facing bureaucratic or 
regulatory problems in Lithuania. 
DERSE