Viewing cable 09VILNIUS92
Title: Media Coverage of Lithuania Accepting Guantanamo Detainees

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
09VILNIUS922009-02-12 13:49:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Vilnius
R 121349Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 3286
UNCLAS VILNIUS 000092 
 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/NB 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PTER PREL KDRG LH
SUBJECT: Media Coverage of Lithuania Accepting Guantanamo Detainees 
 
¶1.  All major Lithuanian media outlets carried accounts of the GOL's 
interest in accepting some detainees from Guantanamo, with some 
stories saying that talks with U.S. representatives have already 
started. 
 
¶2.  On February 11-12, both major newswires, ELTA and BNS, (mostly 
factual, but used by different papers with varying political 
perspectives) summarized the story.  BNS carried Prime Minister 
Andrius Kubilius's comments made in an interview on the station 
'Ziniu Radijas' (news radio) on February 12:  After noting that 
Lithuania's partnership with its allies made Lithuanian security 
stronger and for this partnership, the country needs to make 
unpopular decisions, PM Kubilius said, "Lithuanian security is 
strengthened by partnership with its allies, in this case the United 
States...we are ready to negotiate openly and consistently for 
this." 
 
¶3.  Kubilius was also quoted on Lithuanian National Television and 
Radio (respected, serious, balanced news coverage) after meeting 
with the State Defense Council saying that consultations in relation 
to the U.S. request will start, "There is a request from our allies. 
 Other EU states have received the same request.  These requests are 
considered on the EU level.  We see a certain partnership 
responsibility." 
 
¶4.  All these outlets covered Foreign Minister Usackas.  ELTA:  "The 
Lithuanian Foreign Ministry intends to start consultations with 
representatives of the USA on the possibility of accepting several 
people detained in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Foreign 
Minister Vygaudas Usackas said on Wednesday." BNS: "Foreign Minister 
Vygaudas Usackas told the press, 'the Foreign Ministry was 
instructed to start consultations with representatives of the U.S. 
administration over technical, legal and security aspects concerning 
the possibility of taking in a few of the Guantanamo detainees in 
Lithuanian territory.'  Lithuania could host no more than 10 
detainees, who 'wouldn't pose a threat to Lithuanian security and 
public order,' said Usackas...the Lithuanian President Valdas 
Adamkus summoned the State Defense Council on Wednesday to the 
President's office." 
 
¶5.  The daily newspaper "Lietuvos rytas" (very popular, left-wing 
[anti-Kubilius], lacking depth in news analysis) on February 12 
carried the BNS newswire account and quotes from PM Kubilius.  When 
asked why the detainees could not return to their home countries, 
Kubilius replied, "Ask them when they come." 
 
¶6.  The daily "Respublika" (anti-American, anti-Semetic, 
ultra-nationalistic, fourth most popular daily newspaper) published 
a sensationalistic account on February 12 entitled, "Usackas Will 
Greet Guantanamo Prisoners with Bread and Salt," referring to the 
traditional way of greeting guests to a home.  The article uses an 
academic and a lawyer to question the legality of the government's 
willingness to accept Gitmo detainees. 
 
¶7.  The internet news portal, DELFI (somewhat balanced, with a young 
(up to 24 yrs.) audience), carried the story on February 11 and 12, 
with today's account, "Lithuanians Don't Want Prisoners from 
Guantanamo," more critical of accepting detainees, while the 
previous day's story showed both sides of the question. 
 
¶8.  The dailies, "Vilniaus diena" and "Kauno diena" (both owned by 
the same news group, formerly influential, neutral coverage)on 
February 12 published the same article, which contained factual 
information from the BNS and ELTA wire services, with the following 
additions:  Usackas did not give a timetable for negotiations, 
meaning detainees could arrive by the end of 2009.  Kubilius 
confirmed that Lithuania, along with other EU members, received a 
formal request from the U.S. 
 
¶9.  Conclusion:  Accepting Gitmo detainees in Lithuania is a story 
that is being carried by all major media outlets here, with 
interpretations depending on the outlet. Given current media 
climate, it would be in our interest to have a statement indicating 
current official USG position. 
 
 
CLOUD