C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 000125
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/25/2020
TAGS: OSCE PARM PREL LH
SUBJECT: GOL VIEWS ON OPEN SKIES TREATY
REF: SECSTATE 15591
Classified By: AMB Anne E. Derse for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
Â¶1. (C) Summary. We spoke with Dovydas Spokauskas from the
MFA's Transatlantic Cooperation and Security Policy
Department as well as Robertas Sapronas from MOD's
International Relations and Operations Department to collect
information about the GOL's views on Open Skies (OS). The
GOL considers the Open Skies Treaty to be part of its
national defense strategy. The MFA and MOD collaborate on
key Open Skies decisions which are further vetted at the EU
Â¶2. (C) Spokauskas said that key government personnel for Open
Skies decision-making remain the Transatlantic Cooperation
and Security Policy Department at the MFA and the
International Relations Department at MOD, specifically the
Control of Arms Division and the officers going on CSBM
(Confidence and Security Building Measures) missions.
Â¶3. (C) Spokauskas said that the Open Skies policy-making
process between the two ministries is, "A combination of two
interests. For defense there's a military-security
interest... At the MFA, there's political interest for using
Open Skies." He underscored that joint decisions evolve
before EU meetings.
Â¶4. (C) The MFA views the Open Skies agreement as a part of
other CSBMs. Spokauskas said that Open Skies remains
important because the treaty is still active despite a
decline in other security treaties. He cited the example of
Russia's suspension of the CFE treaty in 2007. MOD's
Sapronas said that the OS treaty is less important than the
Vienna Document, for example. He noted that the GOL does not
plan to use its active quota this year.
Â¶5. (C) Spokauskas characterized Lithuanian NGOs as
disinterested in the Open Skies Treaty and could not identify
any academics specifically interested in the Open Skies
Â¶6. (U) Our contacts provided the following response to the
Open Skies non-paper (reftel).
Â¶7. (U) Begin response.
-- What topics would your government like to see included as
agenda items for the RevCon? Could your delegation provide a
food-for-thought paper on this subject for review in advance
of the RevCon?
MFA: We have consulted with the outline of topics for the
agenda and found that it very thoroughly reflects the scope
of issues related with the Treaty. We have no such plans
(for a food-for-thought paper) at the current stage.
MOD: We hope that there will be a joint Nordic-Baltic
position developed and presented.
--The U.S. supports the goal of a consensus political
document, e.g., Final Document, at the close of the RevCon.
Does your government share this goal?
MFA: Yes. The Treaty on Open Skies remains the only fully
functioning legal instrument on CSBMs in the OSCE area. We
should reaffirm our strong support to it.
-- How does your government view the contributions of Open
Skies to the broader European security architecture?
MFA: The very fact that the Open Skies system has now been
functioning for more than eight years is a proof that states
recognize it as in important tool to promote transparency.
Together with the CFE treaty, Vienna Document and OSCE Code
of Conduct, Open Skies Treaty form a backbone of European
--How does your government plan to continue support for the
Treaty in the future, including the transition to digital
MFA: We do not operate our own Open Skies aircraft, however
transition to digital media would make the footage from the
missions more attractive and easily accessible to the
MOD: These (technological developments) have to be somehow
reflected in the revised Treaty.
--Is your government considering replacing your Open Skies
aircraft and/or sensors?
MFA: We do not operate our own Open Skies aircraft.
--Does your government plan to continue exercising Open Skies
MFA: Due to a substantial cost of the operation, we are not
planning to conduct independent Open Skies missions. We are,
however, looking forward to sharing our quotas with
--Does your government continue to value missions as CSBMs
and as transparency measures?
MFA: As mentioned, we believe that Open Skies CSBMs regime
has both real and symbolic value in today's situation.
MOD: As you know, Lithuania was not taking part in the
preparation of the Treaty and, mainly due to the costs
involved, was not very active in taking part in its
implementation... The key concerns which, I believe, our
countries will raise, will be related to the economic aspects
of the implementation- i.e. searching for ways to make
participation in OS less costly.
--Is your government interested in conducting missions for
other "transnational" threats (see OSCE Ministerial Decision
MFA: We think that an initiative to conduct missions for
"transnational threats" properly reflects OSCE's efforts to
take a multidimensional approach to security. We are looking
forward to a first overview on progress by Secretariat due by