S E C R E T VILNIUS 000088
DEPT FOR EUR/NB AND S/WCI
USEU ALSO FOR AMBASSADOR WILLIAMSON
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/10/2019
TAGS: PTER PREL KDRG EUN LH
SUBJECT: (S)LITHUANIA SAYS YES: NEXT STEPS ON GTMO
REF: VILNIUS 68
Classified By: Ambassador John A. Cloud for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
Â¶1. (S) Summary: Lithuania's State Defense Council met
February 11 and made the decision to accept two Uzbek
detainees from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Urgent
action request at para 4. End summary.
Â¶2. (S) The Council, which includes the President, Prime
Minister, Speaker of the Seimas (parliament), head of State
Security, and Chairman of the Defense Staff, also met
February 11 with the Interior Minister, and Foreign Minister.
Foreign Minister Usackas told Ambassador that the decision
to accept the detainees has been made, subject to conditions.
First, the Uzbeks must "request" to be settled in Lithuania.
Second, the Foreign Minister must begin consultations
regarding the legal, technical, financial, and security
issues relating to the transfer of the detainees, and their
presence in Lithuania. Third, Lithuania will do this in
conjunction with the European Commission and the EU reaching
a common position.
Â¶3. (S) Usackas clarified that the GOL did not want to get too
far out in front of the EU, which would mean waiting at least
until after a meeting of interior ministers February 26 - 27.
In addition, the GOL does not want this issue to become a
part of its upcoming presidential campaign (beginning in
mid-March and ending in early June).
Â¶4. (S) Usackas said he had already spoken to the media
(article e-mailed to EUR/NB and S/WCI), which he had told
that the MFA had been tasked by the Defense Council to begin
consultations with the USG on the possibility of accepting
detainees. He also told the media that what was being
considered was that Lithuania might take "several" detainees
and that the process would take weeks or months, not longer.
The Foreign Minister asked whether he could confirm to the
media that the USG had officially asked the GOL to accept
detainees. Post requests an immediate response to this
Â¶5. (S) Usackas also told us that he had confirmed to French
Foreign Minister Kouchner on Monday that the U.S. had made a
formal request. He expected this issue would also come up in
his meeting with German Foreign Minister Steinmeier on
Â¶6. (S) This is as green a light as we will get. We believe
the consultations the MFA will be looking for will involve
logistics and details. We expect that Ambassador
Williamson's visit February 18 - 19 will be a good first
step. But we will have to decide whether we are prepared to
move this very quickly (before mid-March). If not, the
timeline will stretch to June, at least.