Lithuania's Defence Minister Juozas Olekas on Monday endorsed an agreement of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) and Allied Command Transformation (ACT) laying down the legal status of NATO elements of control and command in Lithuania, the ministry said.
According to the communiqué, the agreement regulates privileges and immunities, management of issues regarding movement and residence in Lithuania, and access to transportation, medical and other services for members of the deployed Allied forces and their families, employment of personnel from the host nation, and other points.
"This additional agreement is indispensable for setting the status of the international institutions and units already operating in Lithuania, as well as for providing conditions for Lithuania’s further integration into NATO organization and stepped up international cooperation," reads the press release.
A NATO Force Integration Unit (NFIU) with a staff of roughly 40 representatives from various NATO Allies and a similar number of Lithuanian members will be opened in Lithuania this year. The NFIU will be arranging exercises for Allied forces deployed in Lithuania and ensuring communication between the forces and NATO operational headquarters.
Signed by the defence minister, the document now will be forwarded for endorsement by the other parties – Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe and Allied Command Transformation. The Lithuanian parliament will have to ratify the agreement.